MANILA, Philippines – It is the dawn of a new era for the San Beda Red Cubs.
The Cubs, the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) defending champions are the favorites to take home back-to-back titles, but things are way more different this season.
The Rizal-based team will be fielding their Team B composed of mostly 15 and 16 year-olds to compete against older high school players in the league.
According to San Beda head coach JB Sison, the week-long NBTC is in conflict with the Red Cub veterans’ graduation schedule.
“Actually, defending champion yung school pero yung team ko this year is the Team B of San Beda so yung mga younger ones na future NCAA players namin kasi na-conflict kami sa grad schedules ng Team A., So yung school nagdecide na i-field sa NBTC yung upcoming team next year,” said Sison.
(Actually, the school is a defending champion but my team this year is the Team B of San Beda so [those are] the younger ones that are our future NCAA players because we’re the grad schedules of Team A were in conflict, so the school decided to field the upcoming team next year to NBTC.)
Despite missing the services of King Cub Evan Nelle and last year’s champions, Sison still remains positive that his team will deliver promising results despite being a young squad.
“Yung team na nagchampion last year, they started NBTC as Team B also. They started at division 2 and yung format ng NBTC then ano pa pinayagan sila sumali sa division 1 pero Team B sila,” explained Sison.
(The team that was champion last year, they started NBTC as Team B also. They started at division 2 and the format of NBTC then allowed them to to join division 1 but they were Team B)
The up and coming Red Cubs are expected to fulfill the high expectations of Sison. They will be fortified by Batang Gilas players 6-foot-5 Yukien Andrada and Justine Sanchez who will be joining the 2018 FIBA Asia Under-16 Championship from April 2-6 in Guangzhou, China.
“Actually, the way we practice, yes, mataas expectations ko. Kaya lang depende sa competition which is 3 or 4 years older than some of my boys, but still bilog ang bola. Malay natin,” said Sison.
(Actually, the way we practice, yes, my expectations are high. But it depends on the competition which is 3 or 4 years older than some of my boyds, but still, the ball is round. Let’s see.)
Aside from being defending champions, the San Beda Red Cubs have made it to the NBTC finals and faced back-to-back champions Sacred Heart School (SHS) – Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles for 3 straight years.
It was only in their 3rd year that they broke out of the bridesmaids finish led my NBTC Most Valuable Player Nelle and teammate Peter Alfaro who also made it to the Mythical 5.
Sison was proud of his younger Cubs that they were more excited for this competition instead of feeling the nerve-racking pressure to make it to the finals for the 4th straight time.
“Talagang excited sila, halata na ayaw nila mapahiya kasi unang una kasi dala natin ang San Beda, defending champion, so sabi ko ‘let’s represent it well, malay mo umabot pa tayo sa dulo’,” recalled Sison.
(They’re really excited, it’s obvious that they don’t want to embarrass themselves because first of all, they are carrying San Beda, the defending champion, so I said ‘let’s represent it well, you’ll never know, maybe we’ll make it until the end’.) – Rappler.com
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