Lions test Bombers as NCAA wars unfold | Inquirer Sports

Lions test Bombers as NCAA wars unfold

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 04:05 AM June 28, 2014

FOR SAN BEDA’S talent-loaded roster, its the championship or bust as the 90th NCAA Season gets going today at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

The heavily favored Red Lions start their quest for a fifth straight title against host Jose Rizal University after an opening ceremony that organizers promised will be as unique and memorable as it can get.

“If you’re a team that has won four straight championships and seven of the last eight, all teams will really want to beat you, so we expect this season to be the toughest of all,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez. “We have to embrace the challenge.”

Back to power the Red Lions’ bid is Nigerian big man Ola Adeogun, who has a solid supporting cast led by Baser Amer, Art Dela Cruz and Anthony Semerad. Having been part of the last three San Beda championship teams, the 6-foot-7 Adeogun knows expectations are high on them extending their dominance.

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San Beda hopes to become the second team to win five straight senior titles after San Sebastian, the winner from 1993 to 1997.

“The pressure to win again is big,” said Adeogun, tipped to deliver a huge season for the Lions. “We just have to play harder.”

Letran and San Sebastian collide in the second game at 3 p.m. in a rematch of their Final Four meeting won by the Knights last season.

Losing key players from last season’s run, both the Knights and Stags hope to draw the best out of their newcomers with San Sebastian parading touted rookies in Rhanzelle Yong and Michael Calisaan.

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The Knights lost Raymund Almazan and Jonathan Belorio to graduation, but coach Caloy Garcia still has Mark Cruz and Kevin Racal ready to provide firepower and leadership to the relatively young roster.

The Heavy Bombers have the unenviable task of testing the Lions first this season and coach Vergel Meneses vowed a fighting performance from his squad, particularly with their defensive effort.

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“Since I took over, I always say our defense is our offense. Nothing is different this year,” said Meneses.

Jose Rizal will rely on Michael Mabulac, Philip Paniamogan and Jaycee Asuncion, a transferee from Perpetual Help, and Ghanaian reinforcement Abdul Razal Abdul Wahab.

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TAGS: Bombers, Lions, NCAA, San Sebastian

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