IT WAS an open secret that, even before San Beda’s remarkable Season 99 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) title run last year, King Lion Jacob Cortez was making a jump to De La Salle University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).

Mr. Cortez himself confirmed it yesterday. “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 Mr. Cortez on Facebook. “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,” he added.

While he did not mention De La Salle specifically, his path had always pointed towards reigning UAAP titlist De La Salle where his father, Mike Cortez, was one of its biggest stars more than two decades back.

He has jumped from a champion team to another champion squad.

Mr. Cortez was grateful San Beda gave him a chance. “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,” said Mr. Cortez. “Still, the most unforgettable part of the past couple of years has been all of you. Along the journey, I’ve truly met people who I can call family now.” — Joey Villar