Reigning NCAA seniors basketball champion Letran Knights could not get any more excited to start a new chapter with soon-to-be-named new mentor Jeff Napa and veteran guard McJour Luib is foremost among them.
“Gusto na nga namin magkaroon talaga ng (full-time) coach para mas makapag-practice na kami,” the 5-foot-10 Luib told FOX Sports on Sunday night after making his debut in the PCBL with Euro-Med which suffered a close 64-66 heart-breaker against Sta. Lucia at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center.
Luib, 22, who played an instrumental role in Letran’s impressive conquest of San Beda for the NCAA Season 91 seniors cage crown last October, admitted they have already moved on from their break-up with former mentor Aldin Ayo, who left them a month after to take on a new challenge with La Salle in the UAAP.
“Tanggap na namin. Matagal na. Nakapag-move on na rin kami,” he said. “Oo, nami-miss namin ‘yung chemistry na ganun pero move on na dapat kasi simula na ng bagong chapter.”
Luib and the rest of his fellow Knights will have a first glimpse of their new coach on Tuesday morning when the school management officially introduces Napa at Salon de Actos inside Letran’s main campus in Intramuros, Manila.
This early, Luib vowed he and the Knights will give their all to help Napa sustain the winning tradition of Letran. “Tapos na ‘yung nakaraang season. Bagong season naman na kaya magsisimula ulit kami. Kung sino ang magiging coach, susundin namin siya kasi siya ang mas nakakaalam ng basketball higit sa amin,” said the Cagayan de Oro City native.
Luib admitted he has yet to personally meet Napa but he has already an inkling of what the former NU Bulldogs star achieved on his promising coaching career.
“Winning coach siya. Ilang beses na siyang nag-champion sa (UAAP) juniors tapos assistant rin siya nu’ng mag-champion ang NU (in 2014) nu’ng panahon nila Gelo (Alolino) at Troy (Rosario). Siguro masarap siya makasama kasi winning coach rin talaga siya,” he said.
Luib also admitted he and fellow veterans Jom Sollano and Bong Quinto have been religiously attending the Knights’ recent training sessions supervised by acting coach Nap Garcia to keep themselves in tip-top shape ahead of several off-season tourneys.
While the 6-foot-4 Sollano tallied 5 points and 2 boards in their opening-day loss in the PCBL, Luib, along with Quinto, went scoreless and even accounted a crucial error in the clutch, leading to Realtors guard Ken Salado’s go-ahead basket with 14.3 seconds left.
“Wala nang magagawa kasi sabi ni Coach (Efren Garcia Jr.) bumawi na lang ako sa susunod,” said Luib. “Careless turnover lang talaga. Kaya next time mag-i-ingat na ako.” — By Jerome Lagunzad