Recently crowned champion of the Philippines’ National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Jacob Cortez announced his departure from the Red Lions’ den. The 5-foot-11 guard withdrew from the program through an Instagram post on Thursday, January 11, 2024, stating his intent to transfer to an undisclosed University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) school, which many speculate to be the UAAP’s defending champions, the De La Salle University Green Archers.
“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,” the junior cager mentioned.
“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,” he added.
Cortez continued, thanking program executives and the Red Army for their unwavering support and dedication to the team, noting his decision to transfer was a means to continuously “challenge and improve” himself, leaving no regrets about his relocation.
Turning over a new leaf, many expect his transition from a Red Lion to a Green Archer come Taft’s UAAP 87 title defense, as Cortez’s bloodline runs deep with the green-and-white. His father, the current Assistant Coach for the Blackwater Bossing Mike Cortez, supplemented the school during the tournament’s 63rd (2000-2001) and 64th (2001-2002) title runs, resulting in his first overall selection during the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) 2003 draft.
Under Head Coach Yuri Escueta’s tutelage, the third-seeded San Beda roster rummaged through the 99th postseason of the NCAA, choreographing come-from-behind victories in their Final Four matchups against Lyceum and Mapua. Cortez remained vital in the university’s success, tallying 13.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.0 steals per contest, come the tournament’s finale.