JAMIKE Jarin’s first order of business as new head coach of San Beda men’s basketball team is to convince two undecided top playmakers to stay with the top NCAA school next season.
First, he wants Red Cubs star Andrei Caracut to stay and play for varsity team.
Then, he hopes Red Lions star point guard Baser Amer would use his final year of eligibility with the Mendiola-based squad.
Caracut, who led the Cubs to a historic sixth straight juniors’ title recently, is considered as one of the blue-chip college prospects for next year.
“He’s number one on the list,” Jarin said of the 18-year-old Caracut. “Medyo lahat din ng skuwela, number one din siya sa list nila.”
Jarin had the chance to handle the combo guard in the national youth team that participated in the Fiba Asia Under-18 championship last August.
“The kid has a bright future, very soft-spoken,” Jarin said. “But he needs to understand the game more. Right now, he’s better at the two (shooting guard), kaya kailangan ma-fine-tune natin siya to become a natural one (point guard).”
The chance to be under Amer’s wings could help Caracut’s development and persuade him to keep wearing San Beda’s red and white jersey.
“Yun ang isa sa selling point,” Jarin said. “(Amer’s) one of the best point guards in college.”
But how can Jarin sell the opportunity if Amer’s status on returning in his fifth year is still up in the air?
Jarin, though, feels the 22-year-old pride of Davao will come back after they bumped into each other during a practice of Hapee Toothpaste at the Meralco gym.
“I had a chance to talk to Baser, but I never asked him, ‘are you playing next year?’. Parang awkward naman kung itatanong ko ng ganun,” Jarin said. “Basta I just reached out my hand and I told him, paki tulungan mo naman ako.’”
“And he said, ‘yes.’”
Jarin is eager to keep not only Caracut, but the rest of the graduating Red Cubs, although the San Beda alumnus will not force them to if they would look for other opportunities.
“San Beda is the most successful high school team and it should continue as the feeder program for the Red Lions. We’d like to hold on to our players.”
“Pero for me, personally, if they would feel they would have a better career (elsewhere), hindi naman natin ‘pipigilan yung mga bata.”