Mike Cortez turns emotional as son Jacob wins NCAA title with San Beda | Inquirer Sports

Mike Cortez turns emotional as son Jacob wins NCAA title with San Beda

/ 08:49 PM December 17, 2023

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Jacob Cortez hugs his family including father Mike Cortez as San Beda wins NCAA title

Jacob Cortez hugs his family including father Mike Cortez as San Beda wins NCAA title. –NCAA PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—When the buzzer sounded to signal San Beda’s successful return atop the NCAA mountain, there was not a dry eye in the sea of red at Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.

Not even Mike Cortez, who’s usually very calm and composed in whatever situation.

And why shouldn’t he be dropping a few tears of joy? After all, his son Jacob just helped the Red Lions snag their 23rd men’s basketball championship.

His kid replicated something that he did when he was still in the collegiate ranks for La Salle, and that was to help the school gain glory.

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“I always expect my son and the whole San Beda team to play well. They come in every game with chips on their shoulders. They haven’t been back to the finals in a long time and they showed it with how they play,” said Mike Cortez in an interview with Inquirer after San Beda’s 76-66 win over Mapua.

“We’re always so proud of him and the whole team. They went through a rollercoaster season… What more can you say? It’s kind of bittersweet that they won it this way.”

San Beda Red Lions' Jacob Cortez.

San Beda Red Lions’ Jacob Cortez. –NCAA PHOTO

The “Cool Cat” was right. San Beda, a squad labeled as a “rebuilding” team, wasn’t expected to reach the NCAA  Finals, much less win a title.

They were on the brink of elimination several times in the first and second rounds and had to face a Lyceum team with a twice-to-beat advantage just to get to the Finals where they would face the league’s best team was the Cardinals, who finished with a 15-3 record.

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All of those trials proved to be just trials for the Mendiola squad as they got through the hump with the help of Jacob, who, much to the surprise of many, didn’t win any individual award this season despite his heroics.

This didn’t seem to faze his father, though, as he taught his kid about the most important prize of them all–the championship.

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“It really doesn’t matter to me. What matters is the championship. That’s what I told him. I told him to use it as fuel, use it as a motivation that you didn’t get any awards. Understand it’s a team game, the only award that matters is the championship.”

Jacob, on the other hand, took that advice to heart.

In fact, even before Mike could give him any advice, he was already given the proper motivation in plain sight. His fuel was in his living room.

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“In my room, I have a picture frame of him when he was in La Salle. It was a dunk. It’s just there every day. He won championships there and it feels good to finally have one,” said Jacob after finishing with eight points in the finalè.

TAGS: Mike Cortez, NCAA Season 99, San Beda Red Lions

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