Go-To-Guy

Embracing his role as Letran's new go-to-guy in the next NCAA men's basketball tournament has yet to sink in on Fran Yu.

With Jerrick Balanza and Bonbon Batiller already completing their collegiate eligibility, the burden is now on the hands of Yu to carry the Knights to another championship in the pandemic-stalled Season 96.

"Hindi naman sa inaako ko yung go-to-guy nga kasi syemre nandiyan si (Larry) Muyang, si (Jeo) Ambohot saka si (Ato) Ular, last year na nilang tatlo eh so yung magiging production nila kasi kapag point guard ka kailangan mo ng big man eh, hindi mo naman madadala yung team pag wala kang big man. Kapag point guard, kailangan mong mag-lead, kailangan mong mag-assist sa kanila para buong flow ng team ninyo tumatakbo," said Yu during a recent "The Prospects Pod" vodcast.

"Saka yung pagiging leader, parang gagayahin ko na lang kung paano yung pag-lead nila sa amin," he added.

A transferee from University of the East, the 5-foot-10 Yu shone in Letran's Finals conquest of fancied San Beda in the classic best-of-three series that went into full route.

Now the defending champions, the Knights are hoping to repeat which the Muralla-based school last did the trick in 1999-2000.

Letran was eliminated in the Final Four 2006 after its improbable championship under coach Aldin Ayo the previous season.

"Kami kuya gusto namin mapatunayan na kaya talaga namin makipagsabayan sa mga teams nga kasi diba all-Filipino kami tapos yung nakalaban namin, para hindi nila sabihin naka chamba lang ganoon. May gusto pa kami i-prove. Gusto namin mag back-to-back," said Yu, who emerged as the last season's Most Improved Player.

Yu has to thank coach Bonnie Tan, who trusted him in leading the Knights' backcourt last year.

"Noong nalalaglag kami sa Lyceum noong Season 94 (Final Four), hindi kasi namin ineexpect na mai-injury si JP Calvo kaya hindi kami ready nung papalit sa kanya tapos nagkaroon lang ako ng break kay coach Bonnie, binigyan niya ako ng tiwala kasi nainjure si Tommy (Gedaria) noon eh, so kami lang ni (Kurt) Reyson yung point guard sa team," said Yu.

"Ayun kaya nagkaroon ako ng chance na ipakita kung ano yung kaya kong gawin," he added.