EXTRAORDINARY. San Beda is aiming for no less than back-to-back championships.
HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 14-4, 1st place (champion)
YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Robert Bolick, Javee Mocon, Davon Potts
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Kemark Carino, Clint Doliguez
GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Dan Sara
San Beda College is the best collegiate team in the Philippines
That is, based on their clean sweep of the head-to-head matchups between the NCAA and the UAAP champions.
“Sabi ko nga sa players ko, ‘If you want to be the best, we have to beat the best.’ We beat La Salle so we’re the number one collegiate team in the Philippines right now,” head coach Boyet Fernandez said after they claimed the 2017 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament at the expense of De La Salle University.
The NCAA kings Red Lions got the better of the UAAP titlists Green Archers not once, but twice in the Filoil.
More than that, San Beda became only the third-ever team to go undefeated in the preseason tournament.
Now, the boys from Mendiola turn their attention to continuing their reign atop the first and oldest collegiate league. “Hopefully, I can lead them to back-to-back. Medyo mahirap ngayon, pero sa tingin ko, kung tatrabahuin ko, tatrabahuin ng players ko, may chance kami,” Fernandez said.
Still, the returning mentor knows nobody is giving them an inch. “Sa totoo lang, from umalis ako sa NCAA, mas nag-iba na ngayon, mas lumakas na yung ibang team. Kung tutuusin, kung iisa-isahin mo lahat, they’re really improving,” he shared.
He then went on to mention each and every one of the other squads and how they still have a fighting chance.
And so, while the 45-year-old acknowledges that everybody else believes they’re the team to beat, they aren’t considering themselves as such. As he put it, “I really appreciate that people are saying we’re the favorites, but again, for me, as long as we don’t get the championship, it’s not a reality.”
He then continued, “For me, until San Beda wins back-to-back, we’ll just be an ordinary team.”
Fortunately for the faithful over at Mendiola, their team brings back the whole band – sans former team captain Dan Sara, of course.
That includes Robert Bolick, Javee Mocon, Davon Potts, Jomari Presbitero, Most Improved Player Donald Tankoua, and Finals MVP Arnaud Noah – and a whole lot of other players who delivered their ninth title in the last 11 years.
It’s not like there’s no one ready to take the reins of leadership though.
The Red Lions of yesteryears didn’t revolve around one person – not Baser Amer, not Art Dela Cruz, not Davon Potts.
Now, however, it is clear that this is Bolick’s team. Even Fernandez things so in saying, “No question about it, I acknowledge the strength of Robert. Without Robert, right now, we’ll just probably win five games.”
At the same time, Fernandez has always reminded his boys that they can’t win it all in the NCAA if they keep doing that. “I always encourage the guys that we shouldn’t depend on Robert, we should depend on all five guys,” he shared.
And Bolick himself is only echoing his mentor’s sentiments. “I don’t look at myself as ganoon. I’m just playing in the system of coach Boyet,” he expressed.
He also added, “Kapag nasa akin lang yung bola, I just want to make good decisions. But if I have the shot, I’ll take it.”
Whatever happens, the once-“bench player” of DLSU will do anything and everything – as long as they get the win. “Mas okay na zero points at panalo kesa 15 points tapos talo,” he said.
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