After Kean Baclaaan’s promising outing in his rookie season, National University Bulldogs head coach Jeff Napa is wary that there might be UAAP teams interested in poaching his young floor leader.
“‘Wag lang sana may mang-aaswang. ‘Yun naman yung katotohanan, ‘wag lang sana may mga mag-aaswang para maging maganda yung laban ng UAAP,” Napa said.
The 5-foot-8 Baclaan reaffirmed his commitment to Napa and assured that he will be staying with the Jhocson squad until his final year in collegiate basketball.
“Hindi na. Hindi na ako lilipat. NU ako, NU hanggang matapos college career,” he said in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN Sports.
Despite his impressive rookie season, Baclaan acknowledged he needed to work on expanding his game and he was far from being a complete package.
“Kailangan ko pa si Coach Jeff. Kailangan ko ng (guidance) ni Coach Jeff kasi sobrang father figure sa’min si Coach Jeff hindi lang sa court, sa labas, lahat gina-guide niya kami,” Baclaan said.
The 19-year-old guard — a blue-chip prospect coming out of UST high school — showed a teaser of his skillset during the PBA D-League and Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup.
After his controversial transfer to NU heading into UAAP Season 85, Baclaan let his game do the talking and averaged 7.92 points, 3.38 rebounds, and 4.15 assists during the elimination round of the men’s basketball tournament.
Baclaan also had his moment in the semifinals against the defending champion University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, scoring 14 points on top of four rebounds, five assists, and two steals in the losing effort.