Red Lions look to snag ’4-peat’ amid pressure, tougher competitionBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines—Coach Boyet Fernandez took over a San Beda squad which is still at the pinnacle of glory in the NCAA.
Fresh off an outstanding feat—he admits the pressure is high, and the expectations to stretch the Red Lions’ title streak to four—in only his first year of handling the squad—is even higher.
But Fernandez promises one thing: “we’ll always be ready.”
“Coach Ronnie [Magsanoc] won it in his first time, they won it three straight, it’s heavy. But the players promised me they’ll do their best,” he added.
San Beda remains as one of the toughest competitors in the upcoming NCAA season 89—but the Red Lions are not head-and-shoulders above no more.
Teams like Arellano, which scored one over the Red Lions in the pre-season, look dead set in snapping San Beda’s reign.
“If you look at this way, everybody has improved already,” Fernandez told INQUIRER.net. “It will be a tough NCAA season.”
The Red Lions will lean on Nigerian behemoth Ola Adeogun anew this season. And why not? Adeogun has been remarkable in the pre-season, even more imposing downlow than he already was.
But Fernandez is not about to dump all the burden on Adeogun, as he hopes to draw quality performances this year from the returning Semerad twins, David and Anthony.
“Right now I’m looking for Dave [Semerad] to step up in Jake [Pascual]‘s absence, and we’re looking for Anthony to take the outside shots,” said Fernandez.
Guard Baser Amer, meanwhile, is expected to lead the Red Lions’ charge, but he won’t be without help from key cogs like Ryusei Koga, senior forward Rome Dela Rosa, Jaypee Mendoza, Art Dela Cruz and Kyle Pascual.