After successfully reclaiming the UAAP juniors title for National University, head coach Jeff Napa is about to face the biggest challenge of his coaching career, thus far.
And that next challenge should not be that far off as he’s pegged to be the one to take over the coaching duties of the reigning NCAA champion Letran.
Napa’s name first surfaced over a month ago through a story here after Letran’s coaching search reportedly ended.
Talking to the Bulletin back then, various sources stated that Napa’s name came up on the top among other nominees and was just subject to the approval of Letran’s rector and president Fr. Clarence Marquez O.P.
Opening up to public for the first time since his name surfaced, Napa finally confirmed there are ongoing talks between him and Letran officials.
“Alam niyo na naman yun. Mag-uusap na kami. Pero ayoko munang isipin yun. Enjoy ko muna ang championship bago ako bigyan ng problema sa kabila,” said Napa after the Bullpups’ 96-75 game three victory over La Salle.
“Nagkukwentuhan palang kami,” Napa added.
Aside from being a three-time champion coach in the juniors division, Napa has also served as one of the assistants of coach Eric Altamirano and was part of the 2014 NU Bulldogs squad which claimed the UAAP seniors title.
He’s also one of the most notable names in NU basketball history as he’s starred for the college team during the late 90s to 2000s, and he’s known as one of the best scorers in the history of the Bulldogs.
“Wala akong regret kung ano ang gagawin kong decision. Suportado naman ako ng pamilya ko at ng NU family. Magiging masaya sila para sakin,” he added. “Eskwelahan ko yun ever since. Dadalhin ko yan saan man ako magpunta. Parang apelyido ko na ang NU.”
With his impending move, Letran fans will be delighted that he could bring UAAP juniors finals most valuable player Justine Baltazar in the fray.
The 6’7 big man, who put averages of 16.6 points, 20.3 rebounds and three blocks in the finals series against La Salle, treats Napa like his own father and although nothing is final, getting the highly touted recruit would be far more realistic for the Knights if everything falls into place with Napa in the wings.
“Kung saan ang maganda dun po ako. Siya na magdedesisyon (kung kukunin niya ako) kasi parang siya na ang tatay ko,” said Baltazar.
Reached for comment, Letran’s athletic director Fr. Victor Calvo O.P. remained mum and simply answered “wala pa,” on inquiries.