MANILA—With an almost intact lineup and a slew of highly-touted recruits coming in, all signs indicate another San Beda dynasty in the NCAA.
“There’s more (titles) to come in the next few years,” vowed San Beda coach Frankie Lim shortly after the Lions blasted the San Sebastian Stags, 95-80, Wednesday night to complete an 18-0 sweep of NCAA Season 86.
It was the fourth title in five years for the Lions and their third under Lim.
Only Borgie Hermida, a San Beda student the past 16 years, will leave the Lions’ den.
There is a lot of excitement, however, surrounding his replacement, NCAA juniors Most Valuable Player Baser Amer, who averaged a near triple double in leading the San Beda Cubs to back-to-back crowns.
“We’ll have Baser Amer,” Lim declared, ending what could be another tug-of-war for the ace playmaker from Zamboanga City, who averaged close to 20 points and 13 assists in the sweep of the SSC Staglets in the finals.
Lim is also eyeing Cubs standouts Al Gotladera, Von Chavez and Chris Javier and said he expects them to join the Lions’ practice late this year.
“We’ll try to find a good balance in the team next year,” said Lim. “We will try our best to make it strong once again.”
Unless other teams could find an answer to their sleek running game and their dominant center Sudan Daniel, the Lions are poised to match the Letran Knights’ record title haul of 16 collegiate basketball crowns.
The 6-foot-7 Daniel, the second foreigner after Sam Ekwe to win the MVP award, saved his best game for the title-clincher last Wednesday, finishing with 24 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks.
“How can you elaborate more when the guy receives two MVP awards,” Lim said, referring to Daniel. “Complete turnaround from last year. You have to admire him for his persistence, for his commitment to get better.”
Lim also attributed their success to the improvement of veterans Garvo Lanete, Rome dela Rosa and Jake Pascual as well as the quality minutes provided by Anthony Semerad, whom, he said, played “big” for a rookie.
Lim stressed their perfect season was not as easy as it looked, saying their success was a product of hard work.
The Lions won all but two of their 18 games via double-digit margins and posted a 17.5 point winning cushion in the finals against San Sebastian.
“It can’t be any better,” said Lim. “I really think my guys deserve it. They’ve worked so hard in practice and that showed how serious and committed they were to getting better.”
The idea is debatable but for Lim, a member of San Beda’s 1978 championship squad, the result tells that his current squad is up there among the best San Beda teams of all time.
“The result will tell you and I have five new guys in my rotation so it just means in the next few years there’s more to come,” he said. Photo by Jan Dizon, NCAA.org.ph
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