Jeff Napa has already hit the ground running for reigning NCAA seniors basketball champion Letran.
And this early, veteran center Jom Sollano could not help but find similarities between the newly-appointed Knights’ coach and his predecessor Aldin Ayo.
“Unang-una ‘yung disiplina sa training. ‘Yun talaga ang pinapairal niya sa amin. Tapos ‘yung commitment ng bawat isa, mula sa aming mga players hanggang sa mga coaches,” the 6-foot-5 Sollano told FOX Sports on Sunday night when he suited up in Euro-Med’s 63-81 setback dealt by fancied Mighty Sports in the 2016 PCBL Chairman’s Cup at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center.
Sollano, 22, added the system of Napa, who was formally introduced last week after helping Nazareth School of National U win its third UAAP juniors cage title in the last five years, is virtually the same as the structure implemented by Ayo, who steered the Knights back to the top at the expense of archrival San Beda College last year.
“Hindi naman nagkakalayo ‘yung sistema niya (Napa) du’n sa sistema ni coach Aldin. Halos ganun pa rin naman.
“Ang gusto ni coach Jeff sa depensa pa rin kami mag-u-umpisa kasi napatunayan na namin dati na kapag matibay ang depensa namin, kaya naming manalo,” pointed out Sollano, who still have two playing years left along with lefty wingman Rey Nambatac.
With barely a week since Napa started to instill his system to the Knights, Sollano said he and his teammates are also doing their part to fast-track their transition.
“Sa ngayon, nag-a-adjust pa rin kaming lahat. Sa ipinapakita ni coach (Napa), nag-a-adjust rin siya sa amin tapos kami nag-a-adjust rin sa kanya. Kumbaga nagpapakilala palang sa amin si coach kung ano talaga ang sistema niya,” said the proud Cebuano, who tallied nine points and four rebounds in Euro-Med’s third straight setback.
“Sabi rin niya sa amin na bago pa lang siya sa Letran kaya ine-expect niya ‘yung mga beterano na maging leader. Kumbaga kami ang kumakausap sa mga teammates namin para mag-explain sa kanila kung ano talaga ang gusto ni coach sa amin.”
Sollano added Napa is also starting to speed up their training session ahead of several off-season tourneys they intend to join.
“Ine-expect talaga namin na magiging mas mahirap ‘yung mga susunod na praktis kasi naghahabol talaga kami. Pukpukan na nga rin agad ang ensayo. Naka-focus kasi sila coach ngayon sa conditioning namin,” concluded Sollano. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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