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MANILA, Philippines – Reigning UAAP men’s basketball champion De La Salle University scored a major transferee as San Beda’s Jacob Cortez signified his intention to join the Green Archers, a source with knowledge of the situation told Rappler.
The development came as Cortez, the son of former La Salle superstar Mike Cortez, announced his decision to leave NCAA champion San Beda Red Lions.
“With great difficulty, I have decided that my time as a Red Lion is closing, and would like to officially announce that I will not be playing for San Beda University in their upcoming season,” said Cortez in an Instagram post on Thursday, January 11.
“Challenging, improving, and growing is always my goal, and so I have decided that to achieve this, I need to get out of my comfort zone. With that, I plan to compete in the UAAP.”
A 5-foot-11 guard, Cortez delivered on his promise by helping San Beda capture its first title since 2018 after leading the team in scoring with 13.7 points on top of 7 rebounds and 4 assists in the NCAA championship series against Mapua.
“I have had THE BEST time at San Beda. From playing as a rookie fresh out of high school in an isolating yet invigorating bubble season to helping bring back the crown where it belongs after many have counted San Beda out.”
Cortez’s father Mike, nicknamed the “Cool Cat” during his stint as La Salle’s King Archer, won back-to-back UAAP championships in 2000 and 2001.
The younger Cortez, though, won’t see action yet this year as he needs to serve his residency in UAAP Season 87, likely redshirting along with Kean Baclaan, who’s also speculated to join the Archers after leaving the NU Bulldogs.
Both Cortez and Baclaan are expected to fill in a glaring hole left by the graduation of point guard Evan Nelle.
San Beda nosed out the Mapua Cardinals, who are led by NCAA Season 99 Most Valuable Player Clint Escamis, in three hard-fought games, with the Red Lions emerging victorious, 76-66, in the winner-take-all Game 3 last December.
In 23 games played in Season 99, Cortez normed 15.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.2 steals.
Playing high school ball with the University of Santo Tomas, Cortez committed to join San Beda in 2021. — Rappler.com