Before his days in Letran, Fran Yu played for the UE Red Warriors where he drew criticism for the way he looked
Letran's Fran Yu used 'namamasada' meme as motivation
Luisa Morales ( - July 5, 2020 - 2:47pm

MANILA, Philippines — Before earning his laurels as an NCAA champion with the Letran Knights, point guard Fran Yu went through a lot of struggles early in his collegiate career.

Yu started out playing for the UE Red Warriors in the UAAP, where he drew criticisms for the way he looked.

Fans of opposing teams questioned Yu's talents and even attacked his appearance as someone who was "namamasada lang".

The NCAA champion recently guested in Tiebreaker Vods' The Prospects Pod with San Sebastian's RK Ilagan.

Yu recalled what he felt amid the criticism and how he took it as a motivator to becoming a better player.

"Wala naman akong ginagawang masama, kasi galing ako ng Palarong Pambansa noon eh... open yung Palarong Pambansa, maitim talaga kaming lahat noon eh," Yu said.

The Letran cager couldn't understand why people were nitpicking his apperance when he just wanted to showcase his talents on the harcourt.

"Simula noong bata ako, maitim ako eh. Hindi ko alam kung bakit nila nasabi yun, naglalaro lang naman ako," he said.

It was what eventually led Yu to leave UE and pursue a different path at an International school in Taiwan.

"Kasi noong lumabas yung meme na yun, parang nawalan ako ng gana. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, kailangan kong magpalaki ng katawan, iimprove pa yung skills ko para makipagsabayan ako sa mas malalaki sa akin," he said.

After spending some time in Taiwan, Yu eventually returned to the Philippines and play for Letran.

Come Season 95, Yu found the perfect opportunity to finally showcase his skills after injuries to the team forced him to step up his game under Coach Bonnie Tan.

"Nagkaroon lang ako ng break kay Coach Bonnie... kami lang ni [Kurt] Reyson yung point guard sa team. Ayun kaya nagkaroon ako ng chance na ipakita kung ano yung kaya kong gawin," Yu said.

Instrumental to Letran's return to NCAA glory in Season 95, Yu proved himself against doubters after winning the Finals MVP in the Knights' championship run.

The 21-year-old averaged 13.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in their three games against the San Beda Lions in that Finals series.

Now with a championship and Finals MVP trophy under his belt, Yu has clearly shed himself of the criticisms on his appearance.

The Tondo-born player has learned how to let his game do the talking.

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