New coach Jeff Napa searching for building block in CEU's post-Diouf era

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jan 19, 2020 04:53 PM
Napa searching for building block in CEU's post-Diouf era
(Photo by Arvin Lim) (FILE PHOTO)

Not only will Centro Escolar University have a new coach at the helm, it will also have a new foundation as it tries to continue its contention.

The Scorpions have hired Jeff Napa, one of the tried and tested head coaches still available, to be their new mentor beginning in the oncoming 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup.

Coach Jeff last called the shots for Colegio de San Juan de Letran from 2016 to 2018 and led them to one playoff berth.

More importantly, however, he laid the groundwork for the Knights' championship in the most recent season of the NCAA by having recruited the likes of Larry Muyang, Bonbon Batiller, and Fran Yu.

While his contract was not renewed by the Intramuros-based school after three years, he stayed on as consultant and remained a factor in the development of Muyang, Jeo Ambohot, and Jerrick Balanza.

Of course, the 38-year-old, who has won three championships in the UAAP Jrs. as shot-caller of Nazareth School of National University, is nothing but grateful for the golden opportunity to once more call the shots in the collegiate ranks. "Very thankful ako sa CEU. Very excited din ako kasi kakaibang challenge naman," he said.

Now in pink and purple, coach Jeff will be tasked to ensure that the Scorpions' sting remains as potent as ever despite the exits of former tactician Derrick Pumaren as well as Senegalese double-double machine Malick Diouf.

For his part, the product of National U is nothing but looking forward to proving his worth anew. "Up to the challenge naman ako na ituloy yung winning culture nila," he said.

For now, coach Jeff has started the search for a brand new big man to build around - especially as he had made a name for himself as a so-called "big man whisperer."

CEU has no leads just yet, but the school has long had a rich history of dominant big men from the likes of Rod Ebondo to Diouf.

Helping out Napa in his new post will be longtime lieutenant Chico Manabat.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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