Napa sees change in Knights' fortune as Muyang, Batiller, Fajarito come on board
With an almost intact core and a bevy of strong recruits, Jeff Napa sees a strong bounce back for Letran next season. Dante Peralta

LETRAN coach Jeff Napa was quick to turn his focus to a promising future for the Knights rather than dwell on the heartbreaking end to their campaign in NCAA Season 93.

After all, the Knights will have an almost intact roster and some several good recruits entering NCAA Season 94 in Napa’s third season at the helm.

That doesn’t mean he isn't upset with the outcome, though.

“Mahirap manalo ng may 15 missed free throws. Daming crucial stops na hindi na-execute. That’s why siguro ganun yung turnaround,” Napa said after they got booted out, 74-69, by San Sebastian on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“Nung nagka-run kami, same thing, pagpalit ng tao, nag-change ng complexion. Hindi ko naman na-call na 'yan e. May mga unnecessary na nangyari, nagkaroon tuloy ng momentum ang kalaban,” he added.

The only silver lining for Napa now is that he’ll be having a strong lineup next season.

The Knights bolstered their recruitment program with several transferees, all of which are expected to contribute come Season 94.

Leading the pack of new additions is former University of the East gunner Bonbon Batiller, who’s expected to fill the void to be left by graduating star Rey Nambatac. The Knights will also beef up their frontline with the arrival of several promising big men in former College of St. Benilde star Christian Fajarito and Larry Muyang from La Salle.

Other notable names also looking to make the lineup next year is former Batang Gilas stand-out Fran Yu and former St. Clare gunner Coy Galvelo.

Returning for Letran is the promising quartet of Bong Quinto, JP Calvo, Jerrick Balanza and Jeo Ambohot and if all things come into place for Napa, then the Knights will definitely come in as one of the teams to watch next season.

“Next year is a different story. Talagang may competition. The talent we have, mabigat yung competition talaga so there’s no assurance kung sino mala-lineup next year,” Napa said as he didn’t hold back on what he expects on his third season as a Letran coach.  

“One thing’s for sure, my target next year is to become a champion.”

Nambatac echoes the same sentiments from his coach.

“I’m pretty sure they will bounce back hard next year. Para sa akin, di ganoong kalaking kawalan na nawala ako kasi ang daming pwedeng mag-fill up ng spot at ng pwesto ko. Kanina, kahit wala ako sa loob, nandoon pa rin yung toughness at intensity nila, na pinapakita namin na kaya naming manalo kahit wala ako,” Nambatac said.

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“Nakikita ko yun ngayon, especially sa Team B namin na yung ibang player, may experience na playing in the big leagues. Sigurado ako, ngayon pa lang masasabi ko na matunog ang Letran next year.”

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