NCAA: Yuri Escueta, San Beda prepared if Jacob Cortez leaves | Inquirer Sports

NCAA: Yuri Escueta, San Beda prepared if Jacob Cortez leaves

/ 12:51 PM January 06, 2024

Jacob Cortez San Beda NCAA

San Beda guard Jacob Cortez during Game 2 of the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball Finals.–MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines—Coach Yuri Escueta said San Beda is prepared for the worst as far as Jacob Cortez’s next move is concerned.

After TNT’s 119-112 loss to Rain or Shine on Friday, Escueta, who serves as an assistant for the Tropang Giga, revealed that he hasn’t talked to the Red Lions star about his decision but said Cortez and his family have already made one.


“We haven’t talked yet but I know his family has already decided. They haven’t said anything yet but I’m sure they’ll announce something soon, so just wait. I know I’ll wait, too,” said Escueta.


Escueta, though, said it would be a “big blow” to lose someone like Cortez, who won the NCAA Season 99 Finals MVP.

Still, Escueta said San Beda would be ready for a scenario without Cortez.

San Beda Red Lions' coach Yuri Escueta in the NCAA Season 99 Final Four playoff.

San Beda Red Lions’ coach Yuri Escueta in the NCAA Season 99 Final Four playoff. -MARLO CUETO/

“Of course, [it will be a] big blow for us but I think boss Jude (Roque) did a good job preparing us for this. Even before the season, there are already teams that are trying to get him. Not just him (Cortez), but even the other players.”

“But I think what boss Jude did this year was to prepare the team for whatever happens. That’s why we have players like (Bryan) Sajonia, the Calimag’s (Richi and RC) and Penny (Estacio). It even looks like too much [talent] but we’re just ready.”

Immediately after winning the title last year, Cortez admitted that he had offers from other schools waiting for him.

Other Red Lions’ like Jomel Puno and Yukien Andrada were also deemed as players who could potentially leave San Beda.


Fortunately for the Lions, both key cogs who played big roles in San Beda’s Season 99 championship, are staying put, according to Escueta.

“Jomel, I don’t think, will leave. Even before the season, he’s being recruited by La Salle but the decision of his family is for him to play with more opportunities, so he went to us,” said Escueta.

Escuata also said that Puno only eyes to play just two years in college before turning pro and playing elsewhere will require him to spend another year for residency.

As for Andrada, Escueta is fully confident the forward will stay with San Beda due to his loyalty.

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“Yukien will not leave. He’s loyal to the school and not to any person. He’s thankful for the opportunities that the school gave him.”

TAGS: NCAA Season 99, San Beda Red Lions, Yuri Escueta

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