WHEN the going gets tough, the tough gets going and that is exactly what Fran Yu was for Letran in Game One of the NCAA Season 95.
Yu was the calming presence in what was a bedlam of a finish where the Knights secured a 65-64 win over the San Beda Red Lions last Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The former Batang Gilas standout had a key defensive play late, before making a crucial assist to Larry Muyang to give the Knights a 65-62 cushion.
For the game, Yu finished with 10 points, six assists, three rebounds, and three steals to tow the Knights to a win away from their first title since 2015.
“Sabi ni coach, kailangan ko may ma-prove sa Letran community, sa chance na binigay ni coach sakin and sa binigay ni coach sa akin. So ginawa ko lang,” Yu said.
The 5-foot-10 guard looked like a different player altogether from the last time he was put in a pressure-laden situation last season.
Left as the lone point guard in their semis clash against Lyceum last year, Yu crumbled under pressure as he was left scoreless in their 109-85 blowout loss to the Pirates last season.
“Matagal na akong nagba-basketball, sa kalye mas dikdikan pa so pag dating dito, may kaba pero pag nagpakain ka sa kaba, siyempre wala nang mangyayari sayo, tulad nung last year,” Yu stated, saying that he has spent countless hours on the gym to make sure he’s equipped to handle the pressure next time.
“Training lang at sakripisyo, buhat kami sa umaga practice kami sa hapon. Twice a day yun,” he added. “Sa practice walang teammate teammate dun, bakbakan, sa labas talagang kulitan na. Doon talaga nagsisimula sa practice.”
His head coach in Bonnie Tan could not be any happier with Yu’s improvements as he knows how bad the 21-year-old wants to make up for his struggles last season.
Tan shared that before the season was over, Yu was on the verge of leaving the school as he aimed to join his old team in Thailand, Traill International School.
But Tan was confident that Yu wasn’t going anywhere - especially with how he ended last season.
“Parati kong sinasabi sa kanya na huwag tayo mag settle dun sa may doon, let's finish what we have started. Yung mga last year na lapses niya sa Letran, bumabawi yung bata,” Tan said. “He wants to prove something sa Letran community and sa, and lalo na sa coaches na hindi niya na nabigay last season.”
That’s exactly what Yu wants to do this season, and he is doing a pretty good job so far.
“Meron akong kailangan tapusin dito sa Letran, kasi last year ayun nga nangyari, andito na kami ngayon at tatapusin na namin ito," he said.