San Beda coaching staff a true marvel | Inquirer Sports

San Beda coaching staff a true marvel

/ 05:10 AM December 21, 2023

Yukien Andrada San Beda Red Lions NCAA

San Beda Red Lions during Game 3 of the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball Finals.–NCAA PHOTO

The age of the Superfriends is over. The age of the “Avengers” has begun. Back in 2019, Letran gained fame—and a championship—with a star-studded bench. Helping out then Knights head coach Bonnie Tan plot the school’s path to glory were veteran mentors Jeff Napa, Alfrancis Chua, Pido Jarencio and Johnedel Cardel. They were called the Superfriends, a reference to an old superhero cartoon series featuring the biggest names of DC Comics.

The league, or any other league for that matter, hasn’t seen that sort of coaching firepower. Not until this season of the NCAA.


This season, the Red Lions returned to the top of the mountain with coach Yuri Escueta calling the shots for the Mendiola squad. But he wasn’t alone.


In his journey to the pinnacle of the league, he had consultants Norman Black and Boyet Fernandez to back him up, with more names helping him behind the scenes.

“I already joked about this before. We call ourselves the ‘Avengers.’ That’s just a joke but with coaches Boyet, Norman, Sandy (Arespacochaga), Chot (Reyes) and Jolas (Lastimosa), I told them it’s OK if they have ‘Super Friends,’ we have our Avengers,” said Escueta, this time referencing a more recent movie collaboration of comics superheroes from the Marvel brand. San Beda’s think tank proved up to the task, with a 76-66 win over Mapua in Game 3 of the Season 99 Finals at Araneta Coliseum on Sunday towing the Red Lions back to the NCAA throne.

“I’m a student of the game. I try my best to learn from all of them so it’s a huge thing that I’m part of the staff in TNT. I’ve been with coach Tab (Baldwin) in Ateneo and Gilas. I just learn from them and try to do everything I learned from the game,” Escueta explained. While Escueta credited Lastimosa, Reyes, Arespacochaga and Baldwin, the two most active guys at his side were Fernandez and Black.

And college basketball fans are very familiar with both names. Before Escueta held the post in Mendiola, it was Fernandez who pushed the Red Lions to a pair of NCAA crowns.

And before Black returned to PBA coaching as the former mentor of Meralco, he was the architect of Ateneo’s famous five-peat in the early 2010’s.

So it came as little to no surprise when Escueta almost deflected a lot of credit to those two juggernaut names after the buzzer sounded.


“Coach Boyet and coach Norman, with their championship experiences, they really worked hard and we all are students. I even listen to the younger [coaches] ones, we debate on everything, we talk about it,” Escueta said.

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TAGS: men's basketball, NCAA, San Beda

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