MANILA, Philippines – This early, Letran coach Jeff Napa is setting some very lofty goals for his team in the NCAA Season 94 tournament.
In the wake of the Knights' elimination in Season 93 at the hands of Michael Calisaan and the San Sebastian Golden Stags on Tuesday, Napa has made it clear that nothing less than a championship will satisfy him next year.
"One thing is for sure – my target next year is to become a champion," Napa declared. " 'Yun na 'yung mindset ko."
The Knights were unable to achieve their target in Season 93 – Napa wanted them to make it to the Final 4, at the very least. They got close, but stumbled in the final hurdle as they lost to San Sebastian, 74-69, in the playoff for the last semifinals berth last Tuesday.
"Hindi talaga para sa amin," Napa acknowledged.
"We need to experience this painful loss, para coming next year, we'll be coming back stronger," he quickly added.
Napa has reason to be confident as only skipper Rey Nambatac is leaving the team due to graduation. Moreover, since taking over as Letran's head coach in 2016, Napa has acquired a bevy of talented transferees who are serving residency.
Chief among those are former St. Benilde center Christian Fajarito, former La Salle big man Larry Muyang, and former University of the East guard Bonbon Batiller, who all finalized their transfers to Letran during the preseason, and will be ready to suit up next year.
"Coming next year, we'll be coming back stronger, with a pool of players na talagang quality players," Napa said.
"Next year is a different story," he stressed.
Of course, this means that several of the players that saw action for Letran in Season 93 are at risk of losing their spots in the roster.
"Talagang may competition," Napa says. "With the talent we have, mabigat 'yung competition talaga, so there is no assurance kung sino ang mala-line-up next yaer."
The one thing Napa is sure of is that in Season 94, he will be able to field a team that can compete with the NCAA heavyweights.
"Next year, our mindset is to become No. 1," he said emphatically.
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