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    Preseason drama over, Jeff Napa can finally focus on bid to revive Letran Knights

    Jul 10, 2017
    Letran coach Jeff Napa is thankful the Knights can fully focus on Season 93 with Rey Nambatac back in full health and his roster complete. Dante Peralta

    JUST a day before the NCAA Season 93 opened, a teary eyed Jeff Napa addressed the Letran community about certain issues which rocked the Knights so close to the season opener.

    Put on the spot after Bong Quinto and JP Calvo were reportedly contemplating on leaving, Napa breathed a huge sigh of relief when his pair of trusted vets had a change of heart and went up on stage with them in the school's annual Pep Rally last Friday.

    "Napakasaya ko at kumpleto na kami," said the second-year head coach in front of the Letran community.

    With such uncertainty resolved, Letran can now focus on what truly matters as it opens its campaign on Tuesday against Mapua at 4 p.m. Filoil Flying V Center.

    It will be the main serving of the league's first triple-header of the season, starting with the Perpetual-St. Benilde clash at 12 noon and the debut of another preseason favorite Lyceum against Jose Rizal University at 2 p.m.

    [See Quinto admits transfer plan a mistake, vows to regain Letran community's trust]

    All eyes will definitely be on the Knights, particularly on Quinto and Calvo as they vowed to regain the trust of the community following the drama near the start of the season.

    "Siguro yun lang, kailangan namin ipakita sa school kung ano talaga kami sa team," said Quinto in an earlier interview.

    "Tapos na ang nangyari. Focus ko ngayon is mabalik ang tiwala nila coach sa akin at mga teammates ko."

    Napa will also be thrust into the grinder as he starts his second year with the school after taking over from now La Salle coach Aldin Ayo, who departed after leading his alma mater to the title.

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    The former UAAP juniors champion coach never really had a chance to prove himself to the community in his rookie year - as he was left dancing in Ayo's shadow, unfairly leading to a slew of criticism, most of it unwarranted, from the community.

    But that is something that's far from Napa's mind right now as he has his focus on bigger things - and that's to get results for the school which entrusted him the responsibility of picking up the pieces from their scintillating run to the championship in 2015.

    "Kumpyansa naman ako last year. It just so happened na late na ako nakasimula noon," Napa said.

    All issues aside, things are looking bright for Napa with star gunner Rey Nambatac also in the pink of health after a hyperextended knee sidelined him for the latter part of the preseason.

    "Rey's already 100 percent. Maganda na yung tinatakbo ng team. Hopefully ma-translate namin into success sa season na to," he said.

    That might have been a blessing in disguise for them as Napa was able to see different players step up in the absence of the prolific combo guard.

    "Without Rey, nakita ko na iba't ibang tao kaya mag-step up eh. Ayun naman ang talagang hinahanap ko. Although they are young, talagang gumawa ako ng paraan para ma-embrace yung role nila," he added.

    "I'm very confident na these boys will perform very well this season. Intayin din namin na swertehin din kami at makakuha ng sunod sunod na panalo."

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    Letran coach Jeff Napa is thankful the Knights can fully focus on Season 93 with Rey Nambatac back in full health and his roster complete. Dante Peralta
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