DONALD Tankoua has some huge shoes to fill after Ola Adeogun's stint with San Beda ended last year, but the Red Lions' Cameroonian big man is not one to back down from the challenge.
With the NCAA offseason still in the early stage, Tankoua is already making great strides after he was named to the Mythical Five in the National Collegiate Championship (NCC) where his team emerged as co-champion with Far Eastern University last month.
The tournament was the Red Lions' first since Tankoua took over from Adeogun, San Beda’s former dominant big man who finished his four-year career with the Red Lions in Season 90.
Over the past years, the Red Lions have been fortunate to have a towering slotman in the lineup, beginning with Nigerian Sam Ekwe who helped the squad win the 2006 NCAA crown. Recently, Adeogun helped the Red Lions to three league crowns thanks to his imposing presence in the paint.
Next in line is Tankoua, who admitted he still has a long way to go for Season 91. But he emphasized that he'll try his best to dish off what the team needs from him.
“I have to do what I’m supposed to do by the coaching staff and what the coach wants,” the 6-foot-6 slotman said. “It’s true that I’m not that tall as Ola but I will do everything that I can do to continue and follow what they did in San Beda, winning every year.”
San Beda coach Jamike Jarin hopes Tankoua performs in a similar mold as Adeogun. And so far, Jarin said his team's new big man is heading in the right direction with his work ethic.
“I hope so. Ola is a proven winner. Donald is a winner also but he has to win (a title) first. But he has been working hard. That’s the good thing about it. He continues to get better everyday, not only him but everybody,” said Jarin.
During the NCC campaign, the Red Lions showed what could be in store for the team in the next few months by using their running game now with Adeogun, and other veterans Baser Amer and Art Dela Cruz no longer with the squad. So far, Tankoua said the team is adjusting well to the new system.
“We are young so we are supposed to run,” said Tankoua.