SAN BEDA COLLEGE RED LIONS
“IT CAN’T BE ANY BETTER.” THIS WAS HOW A TRIUMPHANT FRANKIE LIM BEGAN DESCRIBING HOW HE WAS FEELING RIGHT AFTER HE LED SAN BEDA COLLEGE TO ITS 15TH MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP IN THE 86TH SEASON OF THE NCAA LAST YEAR. IN HIS FOURTH SEASON AS THE RED L
There are only two players in the entire league who have experienced winning three NCAA championships. One of them is Dave Marcelo, who was also the only player on last year’s team that started all 18 games. The other player is Garvo Lanete, who will have an expanded role this upcoming season. Not only will he remain the squad’s leading scorer (14.4 PPG), he also has to be their leader. It was a heartwarming feeling for all Bedan fans to see last year’s “King Lion”, Borgie Hermida, celebrate with a victory lap after spending 16 long years inside the Mendiola campus. At the conclusion of the 87th Season of the NCAA, Marcelo and Lanete would like to graduate on top as well.
Hermida’s replacement is a talented young kid who hails from Davao City named Baser Amer. In his two seasons with the Red Cubs, he helped the team win the NCAA Juniors crown both times (for legendary coach Ato Badolato in 2009 and Brit Reroma in 2010.). He’s a two-time Mythical Five member and a two-time Finals Most Valuable Player. Also included in his impressive résumé is an MVP award for NCAA Season 86 where he averaged 15.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 11.7 APG and 2.4 SPG.
Rome De La Rosa resumes his role as the team’s primary defensive stopper on the perimeter while 6’5” Kyle Pascual looks to improve on last year’s numbers (3.0 PPG and 2.3 RPG) in his second season with the Red Lions.
The San Beda bench is the envy of all opposing teams in the NCAA. Although many of these players are very much capable of
becoming starters on this team, Coach Lim prefers to have them come off the bench to give opponents no respite at all.
Veteran Power Forward Jake Pascual (6’3”) will come in to maintain the first group’s physicality with an anxious David Semerad (6’5”) right after him, waiting for his turn to grab rebounds and bang bodies in the paint. David’s twin brother, Anthony (6’4”) had an impressive rookie season (10.0 PPG in the NCAA finals) and will look to provide even more points off the bench this year.
When these tall men haul in the rebounds, an opportunity to ignite a fastbreak is always an option. Point guards Anjo Caram and Paolo Pontejos will be ready to push the ball up the floor and make opposing teams sprint back on defense. After taking only 12 attempts from the three-point area last season, Mar Villahermosa has put in the work to improve his longdistance game. Expect him to be Lanete’s primary back-up at the shooting guard position. But, the big surprise this year for San Beda fans might just be Melo Lim.
Frankie Lim is a proven winner. He already has three NCAA championships under his belt. His overall NCAA career winning percentage is excellent (86.5% = 64 wins, 10 losses). However, the most impressive thing about him is his ability to make hisplayers follow his instructions. After an extremely physical Game 1 in last year’s NCAA Finals against San Sebastian College-Recoletos, Lim told his players, “Maximum tolerance. Let’s be bigger than them.”
In Season 86, Sudan Daniel proved to everyone that nothing could stop him from delivering an NCAA Championship to San Beda College. However, in a very unfortunate incident during the summer, the reigning league MVP suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and has elected to have surgery to repair the injury. Suddenly, a new challenge has presented itself to the Red Lions. Can they win without “Superman?”
Critics have said that San Beda’s accomplishment of winning 4 NCAA championships in the past decade was primarily due to the presence of having a foreign player on their team (Nigerian Sam Ekwe from Season 82-84 and American Sudan Daniel in Season 86.). This year, the Red Lions will parade an “AllFilipino” lineup with an opportunity to silence those critics once and for all.
The inclusion of the Lyceum of the Philippines-Manila as a guest team in NCAA Season 87 will once again make the league a 10-team tournament. Therefore, a potential 20-0 sweep is a new record waiting to be accomplished.
If Sudan was healthy, San Beda would be very capable of making history again. However, Sudan is out for the season. Therefore, San Beda’s chances of accomplishing this feat have dropped.
Nevertheless, the Red Lions are still a very powerful team. The NCAA title is still theirs to defend.
C PF SF SG
PG Dave Marcelo
Kyle Pascual Rome De La Rosa Garvo Lanete