Frankie Lim hopes to help turn Prince Eze into likes of Ekwe, Daniel
Frankie Lim is no stranger to drawing out the best in his players, especially for foreign student-athletes in the NCAA.
Guiding San Beda to its dynasty in the mid-2000s, the veteran mentor has turned his big men into gems, with Nigerian slotman Sam Ekwe and American center Sudan Daniel both achieving success and winning MVP awards under his tutelage while also delivering championships to the Red Lions.
That winning recipe is what Lim hopes to replicate in this new endeavor with Perpetual as he pegs Nigerian bruiser Prince Eze as the cornerstone for the Altas.
“I’ve coached Ekwe and Sudan and I can say that Prince is longer than Sudan,” he remarked. “(Ekwe and Daniel) experienced success in our time together and that’s what my plan is here. I hope it happens.”
Since the departure of fellow Nigerian Bright Akhuetie in the Las Piñas-based campus, Eze has been the rock for Perpetual, averaging 15.3 points in his sophomore year this past NCAA Season 93, a league sixth-best.
But his calling card has always been his defense, norming 16.4 rebounds, 2.6 blocks — both league-best — this past season, making it no surprise that he won the Defensive Player of the Year plum.
Eze could have easily won the Most Valuable Player award if not for the Altas finishing ninth in the standings with their 4-14 card, as he settled for a spot in the Mythical Team.
Lim, however, wants to turn those regrets into reality as he expects a big turnaround for the team this upcoming NCAA Season 94. And in the middle of it is Eze.
“He’s playing his last year and I told him I can turn him to an MVP. He just has to listen to me and commit to the program,” he said.
This early, Eze is showing signs of progress.
The 21-year-old tallied 24 points, 20 rebounds, and a record-setting 11 blocks for the Altas in their 88-72 victory over NCAA rival JRU last Monday in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup, becoming only the fifth player to notch a triple-double in league history.
“That is good for him,” said Lim. “At least, he knows what he can do and what he can bring to the table.”
Eze’s stellar showing has also been rubbing off to his teammates, much to the delight of the new Altas mentor.
“Prince has been nothing but good in our practices. He’s very encouraging when you see him in our practice and the response of his teammates to him have been very positive,” said Lim.
“I think he deserves a leap year this 2018 in the NCAA.”
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