Looking for greener pastures isn’t totally new to college basketball, much less the NCAA. The off-season leading up to the league’s centennial anniversary has been extremely busy, to say the least.

Choosing to stay a Cardinal even after a heartbreaking runner-up finish in the previous season, reigning NCAA Rookie-MVP Clint Escamis shares his thoughts on the importance of transferring stables in hopes of better opportunities - both for the student-athletes themselves and their families.


Amidst an eventful men’s basketball offseason in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), reigning Rookie-MVP Clint Escamis of the Mapua Cardinals Is already preparing hard for a competitive Season 100.

“Day one pa lang, go hard na talaga,” said Clint in the latest episode of “Game On! The Podcast,” GMA’s all-sports podcast. 

But it’s not just the physical preparations of teams - skills training and game adjustments - that ramped up. Player transfers, all within the realm of strategic team-building and intelligent decision-making, have also made the off-season all the more interesting. 

“Yung off season natin ngayon, crazy transfers. Parang naging NBA free agency. Open season. I was more surprised with the player movement in the NCAA, this season, daming lumipat,” said "Game On" host Martin Javier.

And Martin was speaking facts. If the names on the residency list during Season 99 already made for interesting storylines - with the likes of Jude Bagay, Axel Doromal, Harvey Pagsanjan, Allen Liwag, Justine Sanchez, and Tony Ynot, among others - wait until you see the 2024 edition.

Former LPU Pirate Shawn Umali is now with CSB. Perpetual Altas’ Mark Omega has come home to Letran. SBU Junior Cub standout Chris Hubilla, who initially committed to the UP Fighting Maroons, has officially joined the Knights stable. Another Alta in Cyrus Nitura has found a new home in the EAC Generals, where he will be joined by former Pirate Oman Omandac, another transferee.

With some months left before Season 100 kicks off, all these movements and more seem to be just the tip of the iceberg.

“For me, number one yung offers na binibigay ng schools and alumni. Grabe talaga. Si Roi Sumang nakausap ko, pinag-usapan namin yung transfers, and sabi niya nung time nila yung gusto lang nila yung opportunity. Yung ngayon, bahay, millions,” Clint said on these recent developments.

“Para sa akin kasi, iba-iba naman ang buhay eh. Maybe yung offer na binigay sa kanila is an offer they can't refuse, especially for their families and themselves. So wala ako masasabi na ‘bro dapat ganun.’ Let them be nalang and be happy,” he added.


Asked how his decision-making process was when he decided to stay with Coach Randy Alcantara’s squad despite rumored offers to go pro, the Davao native gave the easiest, most straightforward answer, “Simple. They took a risk on me when no one else did.”

“Since highschool pa, second time in college - so I gotta pay it back. Darating din naman yan eh,” he added, talking about the offers he passed up on for a chance to run it back with the Cardinals.

The 23-year-old MVP, however, revealed that former Cardinal point guard Peter Rosilio’s move to Letran surprised him, but nothing he does not respect.

“Na-shock talaga ako sa good friend ko, si Peter Rosilio. Close kami eh, rookie kami parehas. Pero in age mas matanda ako, so parang kuya nya ako. Nag-aadvice ako sakanya. I thought we were building something for the future. (But) same goes, business is business, I just gotta be happy for him, buhay nya yan eh, opportunity yan para sa kanya,” Clint noted. 

“I’ll see you on the court,” he quipped.


The Cardinals are coming off an impressive 99th season. They were the best team coming into the playoffs, finishing first overall with a 15-3 record. 

They leveraged their twice-to-beat advantage en route to an easy semi-finals win against the Benilde Blazers, but ultimately lost to the San Beda Red Lions in a thriller finals game three.

Clearly, Clint was the leader of that team - both offensively and defensively. It was no surprise therefore that he clinched the Most Valuable Player award in his rookie year, with an All-Defensive Team selection almost completing the top gun’s infinity gauntlet. 

“First day of practice, ‘yun agad binanggit: ‘one game short.’ Locked in na kaagad ngayon. I remember that was January 17, galing talo eh so syempre down yung morale. Kinausap kami ni Coach Yong, naging strict din sila actually,” shared the King Cardinal.

Mapua’s coaching staff, according to Clint, has even added some more skills training regimen as preparations for the next season gain more momentum.

“I wanna incorporate sa Season 100 yung ginagawa ni Mac Tallo - yung ball-over high-pickup - pag susundot yung defender, titingnan mo lang tapos ‘kain!’” said Clint jokingly. 

At present, the Davaoeño hooper is maximizing his gains from playing for a pro team in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), while gradually revving up his preparations for the upcoming Season 100 where he looks to lead the Cardinals to another title run.