Escueta plots uptempo attack
With Yuri Escueta at the helm, expect San Beda University to come up with a run-and-gun, devil-may-care brand of basketball when it campaigns in Season 98 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament this September.
The youthful Red Lions mentor said he will run an uptempo attack, a system that contradicts their usual slow, deliberate half-court setup under former coach Boyet Fernandez.
He said he already introduced the new system to the players, who are all pumped up to see action to regain the NCAA crown that was taken away by Letran College for the past two seasons.
“The players have been receptive to the teachings. It’s a whole new system compared to what they used to have. They would usually play a slow-paced offense and getting the ball into the post,” Escueta said.
“It’s a lot different now because it’s now more fast-paced and uptempo with a lot of three-point shooting. The players have been open to changes which I like and appreciate.”
Escueta may be young at 37, but he is no longer stranger to implementing different systems.
In fact, after playing for legends like Ato Badolato in high school and Norman Black in college, he served as assistant coach to some of the brightest minds in Philippine basketball like Chot Reyes, Black and Tab Baldwin.
He said his young core of Rhayyan Amsali, Justine Sanchez, Tony Ynot, Yukien Andrada, Jacob Cortez and James Kwekuteye are all determined to give him his first coaching title.
He, however, asserted that discipline will still be the focal point of his coaching stint.
“In the pros, you only have to assist them since they are already good. In college, you have to make sure that they have good manners, hard work and discipline,” he said.
“You can’t just be fixated about basketball when handling younger players.”
In a previous report, Fernandez said he has full confidence in Escueta despite being one of the youngest coaches in the country.
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