After Jacob Cortez, San Beda University might lose another key player as Season 99 Finals MVP James Payosing continues to contemplate his future with the Red Lions.
The 21-year-old guard told GMA News Online that he is being invited to suit up for different teams, some of which are from both the NCAA and UAAP.
However, he stressed that half of his heart wants to stay at Mendiola, especially with the looming bid for back-to-back titles come Season 100.
Payosing, though, said he will still weigh his options.
“May inaantay lang ako sa management ko. Hindi pa kasi kami nag-uusap kung ano ‘yung mga offers, saka kami magde-decide, but I want to stay in San Beda naman,” Payosing said.
“Sabi ng management, kailangan ko lang sila kausapin pagbalik ko sa Manila. Eh, ang balik ko ay sa [January] 28 pa, so after no’n, doon ako magde-decide kung saan,” he added.
Only in his sophomore year, Payosing had already made a huge impact on San Beda’s title redemption campaign in Season 99.
Payosing, who played for Jose Maria College in high school before finding his way to the San Beda juniors team in the middle of the pandemic, was among the Red Lions’ top scorers with 8.48 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.04 assists, 0.87 steals, and 0.22 blocks.
While most of the spotlight was on Cortez and the one-two punch of veteran Yukien Andrada and rookie Jomel Puno, Payosing proved he belonged, giving it his all during the finals’ series against Mapua University.
In their Game 1 loss, Payosing dropped a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds. He was then limited to just four markers come Game 2, but made up for it in defense after collecting 10 boards to help San Beda level the series, 71-65.
Saving his best for last, the 6-foot-2 wingman churned out 11 points, 14 rebounds and two steals as San Beda clinched their 23rd men’s basketball title.
However, even before his Season 99 surge, Payosing had already been receiving offers from other schools despite limited action in his rookie year in Season 98. Despite this, he said his focus was to help San Beda regain the crown.
“Last year pa before the season, may mga nagpaparamdam na,” he said.
“Sobrang gigil lang talaga ako maglaro kaya hindi ko pinakinggan ‘yung mga sa labas. Nag-focus lang ako sa Season 99 and ayun napa-champion namin,” he added.
Regardless of his decision, Payosing knows San Beda can still be a force to be reckoned with in the centennial season.
“Nakikita ko naman na kaya naman ng team namin and may mga bagong kaming paparating, mga new guys, who can step up sa game namin as a team and knowing San Beda basketball program na sobrang ganda, kayang-kaya namin,” he said.
Meanwhile, head coach Yuri Escueta insisted that despite the departure of Cortez, and with Payosing still weighing his future plans, the Red Lions are still steady.
“‘Yung San Beda basketball team, it’s a group of basketball players. We’re not a Jacob Cortez basketball team, we’re not a James Payosing basketball team, we’re not even a Yukien Andrada basketball team,” he said.
“Basketball is played with five guys, played within a system, using each one to be able to execute defensive, offensive systems. Pero at the same time, having talent like those two guys and [their] athleticism is very important. But I’m sure we have guys that will step into their roles in the coming season,” he added. (GMA Integrated News)