NCAA: Yukien Andrada, Jacob Cortez relish San Beda's return to Finals | Inquirer Sports

NCAA: Yukien Andrada, Jacob Cortez relish San Beda’s return to Finals

/ 09:45 PM December 01, 2023

San Beda Red Lions' Jacob Cortez, Gonzales, Yukien Andrada after securing the NCAA Season 99 Finals berth.

San Beda Red Lions’ Jacob Cortez, Gonzales, Yukien Andrada after securing the NCAA Season 99 Finals berth. -MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines—When the buzzer sounded at the end of the match between San Beda and Lyceum on Friday, Yukien Andrada immediately went to Jacob Cortez for a tight hug.

Finally pushing San Beda back to the NCAA Finals after four years can make one emotional but what made Andrada more sentimental was the fact that he did it with his buddy of three years.


After three years of struggle and pain, the duo of Andrada and Cortez finally broke through and the former couldn’t be happier.


“We were just talking about things. We’re together for almost three years now and in the past two seasons that we didn’t get to the Finals, it was really big for us to win this game because we’re able to go back [to Finals],” said the big man after their 82-72 win over the Pirates at Araneta Coliseum on Friday.

“We have the chance to bring back the crown to Mendiola.”

Cortez struggled from the field, finishing with just seven points on a lowly 25 percent from the field.

San Beda Red Lions' Yukien Andrada.

San Beda Red Lions’ Yukien Andrada. –MARLO CUETO/

Thankfully, his good pal Andrada came to the rescue and turned in a tremendous outing to the tune of 10 points, five rebounds and a steal to match to neutralize Lyceum’s twice-to-beat advantage.

While it was a special moment for both Cortez and Andrada, the stretch four knows that the pressure isn’t all on them  completely as they aim to take their 25th men’s basketball crown after a tough season.

“Of course, it’s not just us who’re expected to show up and play. We all have a motivation to win and we all wanted to win this game.”


“The expectations with us that spanned through ‘championship or bust,’ we took it as a challenge that we really want to get that crown back.”

Now the friendship of Cortez and Andrada faces a crucible on their desired path in the form of the tough Mapua Cardinals.

Cortez will have to match up against consensus MVP Clint Escamis while Andrada will square up against fellow big Warren Bonifacio.

With blockbuster matchups in tow, the Red Lions are willing, ready and able to step up the plate.

“I know it’s gonna be exciting and tough but we’re ready for it. We’re ready for everyone. We will not stop playing until the buzzer sounds. That’s been our motto for the last six games and it’s been effective and we’re winning.”

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San Beda looks to take Game 1 of the Finals against the Cardinals on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena as it also tries to extend its winning streak to seven.

TAGS: Mapua Cardinals, NCAA Season 99, San Beda Red Lions

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