TRULY, Fran Yu was a way better version of himself this NCAA Season 95.
Quite a leap considering the situation he was in last year.
With the Knights facing twice-to-win disadvantage against Lyceum in the Final Four last season, coach Jeff Napa had to pull a shell-shocked Yu from the bench when lead playmaker JP Calvo suffered a sprained ankle.
Sad to say, things didn't really work out the way they envisioned it, which the 5-foot-10 guard acknowledged without hesitation.
"Hindi ako ready noon eh," said Yu of his past failures. "Di ko alam na ma-injure si JP, tapos bumigay kami."
He took that setback as a challenge to improve his game, all the more now that he has a bigger responsibility as one of the lead court generals for the Muralla squad.
It wasn't easy, especially with Letran undergoing a coaching change from Napa to coach Bonnie Tan.
But Yu embraced tha challenge.
"Unang punta ni coach Bonnie sa amin, pinractice namin ang press break. Sa practice, tira lang. Pag pumasok, swerte. Pag sablay, depensa kaya nadadala ko sa game," he said.
"Ngayon, kailangan mag-step up. Si Tommy (Olivario), galing sa injury, tapos rookie pa lang si (Kurt) Reyson. Walang magfi-fill sa spot ni JP last year, so trabaho lang talaga."
What a way it was for Yu to redeem himself against no less than the Pirates anew, anchoring the Knights to a 92-88 victory that booked their ticket to the championship series opposite San Beda.
He was the catalyst for Letran's second-half attack, scoring eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, along with six assists and five rebounds.
And with that, the Knights are back in the Finals.
After a scintillating performance like this one, Yu has his full belief that Letran can achieve more than just a finals appearance against San Beda.
"Oo naman, kaya namin kasi pinaghirapan na namin ito eh," he said, looking forward to Game One set on Tuesday.
"Nandito na kami sa dulo. Bakbakan na ito. Para na rin sa seniors namin, para maganda ang puntahan nila pagkatapos ng Letran at para di rin nila kami kalimutan. Grabe ang suporta ng community at nila boss Al (Chua)."