LIONS TURN INTO Blazers as two former Bedans, Justine Sanchez and Tony Ynot switched and geared up with the College of Saint Benilde (CSB) Blazers months after their announcement of leaving the Lion’s Den.
Last February, Sanchez and Ynot announced their departure with the Red Lions in order to prioritize their professional basketball careers playing in Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball Legue (MPBL). This news was expressed by the Red Lions’ Head Coach, Yuri Escueta.
Both former Red Lions, who are expected to be the next key players of Coach Yuri, left San Beda because student-athletes in the University are not allowed to take part in any professional basketball leagues after their season with National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) since these student-athletes should then now prioritize being a student.
It was Sanchez and Ynot’s dream to be professional basketball players. Turning into professional basketball leagues from college basketball provides a great advantage in an athlete’s career. Chances of playing with professional players will help such athletes to drive farther into their profession since it is an avenue of growth and development.
However, questions of loyalty rose when Sanchez and Ynot switched teams with the CSB Blazers that was confirmed by Coach Charles Tiu himself last April. The said addition to the Blazers can boost their competitiveness in NCAA’s upcoming seasons as even for Caoch Charles, he addressed the two athletes are talented players that challenged the CSB team in the previous season of the league.
The news brought surprise to the Bedan community since Sanchez and Ynot made a huge contribution for the plays of the team as they finished fourth in their NCAA Season 98 campaign. It was expected that the two would be there to step up in bringing the crown back to Mendiola in the upcoming season and recognizing Ynot as the new King Lion of the den.
Nonetheless, for whatever reasons both student-athletes have, whether it for monetary incentives or pure skills enhancement, dismay from the community is inevitable. Enthusiasts do ask for an explanation for their exit, and there may not be an apparent reason the former Lions left the gates of Mendiola, criticisms are still brought to the two because of their sudden switch as Blazers.
Rest assured according to Coach Yuri’s interview with the Inquirer, that the team wishes Sanchez and Ynot all the best. And their absence from the Red Lions could provide a potential round-up for the team wherein athletes need to fill in the shoes of the former Lions that worked their might for the Red School.
Currently, Sanchez and Ynot are playing with Iloilo United Royals in MPBL. However, it should be noted that both athletes’ NCAA careers are still on the rocks as Sanchez and Ynot must sit out for the NCAA Season 99 to have their one-year residency with the CSB Blazers.