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San Beda’s Title Win Credits ‘Avengers’ of Coaches, says NCAA Star Yuri Escueta

MANILA, Philippines—Back in 2019, Letran flaunted a star-studded coaching staff en route to an NCAA championship.

Bonnie Tan was the head coach, guiding the Knights over San Beda for the NCAA Season 95 championship with a ton of help from his “Superfriends” composed of Alfrancis Chua, Pido Jarencio, LA Tenorio, Jeff Napa and Johnedel Cardel.

The league hasn’t seen that sort of coaching firepower that the Knights had for a few years. Not until the NCAA Season 99.

And this time, it was the Red Lions, who assembled quite a coaching lineup alongside head mentor Yuri Escueta.

In steering San Beda back to the top, Escueta had champion coaches Norman Black and Boyet Fernandez as his consultants while also gaining invaluable knowledge from more big-name tacticians.

“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 okay if they have Superfriends, we have our Avengers,” said Escueta in Filipino after their 76-66 win over top seed Mapua in Game 3 of the Season 99 Finals on Sunday at Araneta Coliseum.

“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 at 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 credited Lastimosa, Reyes, Arespacochaga and Baldwin, the two most active guys on his side were Fernandez and Black.

“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. It’s like we’re in a war room when there’s a coaching meeting but the most important part is, we have fun when we’re all together,” said Escueta, who succeeded Fernandez at San Beda’s helm in July of last year ahead of Season 98.

“I told coach Boyet, ’this is for you,’ because I’m not supposed to be here… I’m just like a babysitter here so I told him, this is for you. This is his team, his championship.”

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