San Beda still team to beat as NCAA Season 91 opens Saturday
It’s no secret that the road to an NCAA championship has to pass through the mighty San Beda Red Lions.
And the coming season, which opens on Saturday, is no different with the Red Lions tipped to win it all.
“Actually, they’re really the barometer this season,” said Topex Robinson, who will be coaching Lyceum after four seasons with San Sebastian, during a press conference at the Mall of Asia Arena on Monday welcoming the 91st Season of the NCAA. “Every time you play San Beda you have to be at your best because you know they will be at their best.”
“It’s always a joy going up against San Beda because it’s a very challenging task. When you’re against them you have no room for any mistake,” said Rodney Santos, who replaced Robinson as the Stags head coach.
San Beda has won five titles in a row and eighth of the last nine. What makes the Red Lions favorites anew are the fact that they would still be with the core of their last season’s championship run in Baser Amer, Art dela Cruz and Ola Adeogun.
But as far as San Beda head coach Jamike Jarin is concerned, the Red Lions aren’t the only ones contending for a championship.
“To us, this is not a San Beda league, this is the NCAA. San Beda has been fortunate to win five straight but with the coaches right now, anything is possible and every game is a 40-minute war,” Jarin said. “Like they always say, the harder you work, the luckier you get and we’re hoping to work harder than them.”
“People are saying it’s going to be San Beda but I look at it one game at a time. You look at Perpetual, you look at Arellano, you have to look at JRU, Lyceum and everybody else. It’s a tough competition,” Jarin told INQUIRER.net.
Arellano, last year’s losing finalist, is considered one of the top teams with Jiovani Jalalon and Dioncee Holts returning. Jose Rizal University hopes to build on its successful preseason with another NCAA Final Four appearance while Perpetual Help will be leaning on reigning MVP Scottie Thompson and import Bright Akhuetie.
“Aside from San Beda, other teams are also capable of winning,” said Arellano head coach Jerry Codiñera.
The NCAA Season 91 begins with Arellano taking on JRU and San Beda facing host Mapua, which is looking to put its dreadful 90th Season behind.
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