MANILA, Philippines – The San Beda Red Lions are still the favorites to clinch a title 4-peat in the upcoming NCAA Season 95.
However, unlike the previous 3 championship-winning seasons, head coach Boyet Fernandez has been tasked to develop a contender without trusty stars Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon.
As testament to how great they were in the collegiate ranks, both Bolick and Mocon are now integral pieces to their respective PBA teams in just their rookie seasons. This also emphasized the huge hole left back in Mendiola that the Red Lions now have to fill.
Not surprisingly however, the multi-titled Fernandez has already found a new way to win.
“Medyo mabigat ‘yung nawala samin, All-Star players like Robert and Javee, but pinagtatrabahuan naman lahat ng players namin ngayon to really fill the shoes that they left behind,” he said. (We’ve had quite some heavy losses, All-Star players like Robert and Javee, but all our players are working to fill the shoes that they left behind.)
“It’s a testament that what my players have been doing is winning the FilOil tournament this preseason.
Apart from winning the Premier Cup, the retooled Red Lions also made it to the 2019 PBA D-League playoffs amid a stacked 20-team field that featured the likes of Ateneo, UST, CEU, and NCAA rival Letran.
Throughout those runs, young guns James Canlas and Evan Nelle have emerged as the possible heirs to the King Lion throne, albeit still being works-in-progress. Along with veterans Donald Tankoua, Calvin Oftana, Clint Doliguez, and AC Soberano, the Red Lions have bounced back quickly and effectively heading to their third-straight title defense season.
Whether that translates to another title, however, remains to be seen in the upcoming months.
“Medyo mataas ang pressure leading to the new season kasi teams have beefed up,” Fernandez continued. “Other schools have hired new coaches who are very good coaches as well. Medyo mabigat ‘yung liga ngayon pero wala eh, we always have to be ready every game, so hopefully we can defend our crown this year.”
(The pressure is quite high leading to the new season because teams have beefed up. Other schools have hired new coaches who are very good coaches as well. The league is quite heavy right now, but it is what it is. We always have to be ready every game, so hopefully we can defend our crown this year.) – Rappler.com