New-look teams Letran, San Sebastian clash in NCAA Season 89 opener

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Coaches of participating teams in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 89 share their thoughts in a press con on Tuesday at SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. The NCAA Season 89 starts with San Juan de Letran versus San Sebastian at the Arena on Saturday. Video by Noy Morcoso/INQUIRER.net.

MANILA, Philippines — Letran and San Sebastian, two teams looking to start the new chapter on the right track, will highlight the NCAA Season 89 opener on Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The Knights, who are looking to move on from the Alas era with long-time coach Louie Alas stepping down and his son and then-star guard Kevin opting to forego his final playing year, will bank on their veterans Kevin Racal, Mark Cruz and Raymond Almazan as well as their prized rookie Rey Nambatac to carry the load.

“Anything can happen this season. We just have to learn how to trust everyone in the team,” said Garcia in a press conference held at the SM MOA Arena in Pasay City Tuesday.

The Stags on the other hand, with returning coach Topex Robinson back in the sidelines, will rely on their newcomers Leo de Vera, a versatile four, and blue-chip newcomer CJ Perez, who likewise has shown what he’s capable of in the preseason, to pick up where their “Big Three” of Calvin Abueva, Ian Sangalang and Ronald Pascual had left off.

“We’re all no-namers but I told my team that we have a big responsibility due to the team’s winning tradition in the NCAA,” said Robinson.

Both Garcia and Robinson serve as assistant coaches in the PBA with Rain or Shine and Alaska, respectively.

Letran and San Sebastian faced in the Final Four last Season with the Knights beating the Stags before losing to eventual champion San Beda. Both teams meet in the main game set at 6pm after the Red Lions, who are going for their fourth consecutive championship, tangle with hosts College of St. Benilde Blazers at 4pm.

Games will be shown live on Aksyon TV, TV5’s 24-hour news and sports channel on free TV, after the Manny V. Pangilinan-owned network decided not to extend its block time agreement with IBC 13 last May.

With Akson TV channel 41 still experiencing signal problems mostly in the provinces, Sports5 manager Vitto Lazatin assured the NCAA’s followers that they are currently taking steps to improve the channel’s reception nationwide.

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