MANILA, Philippines – The NCAA is the kingdom of the San Beda Red Lions. Everyone else can just fall in line for the throne.
Save for the 2009 championship by San Sebastian and the 2015 Cinderella run by the Letran Knights, the monarchs in Mendiola have collected 10 of the last 12 men’s basketball titles, including a three-peat from 2006-2008 and a historic five-peat from 2010-2014.
This NCAA Season 94, San Beda is once again hunting for a three-peat as it shoots for a title berth against Perpetual Help in the Final Four on Friday, October 26 at 4 pm.
Equipped with a twice-to-beat advantage after going 17-1 in the elimination round, the Red Lions are poised to roar one more time into the playoffs, but the Perpetual Altas may just have the perfect answer for their foes.
Enter new head coach Frankie Lim, the man responsible for 4 of San Beda’s titles. In his first season with the Altas, he has transformed a 4-14 ninth-place team in Season 93 to a 11-7 4th seed contender. If anyone is knowledgeable enough to stop San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez, it’s him.
But of course, coaches can only do so much damage from the clipboards.
Led by MVP candidate Prince Eze, Perpetual will heavily rely on his sheer dominance and stamina to lead them to victory.
Known for his ability to play a full 40-minute game, the Nigerian powerhouse has averaged an eye-popping 3.3 blocks this season, ahead of second-placer Hamadou Laminou at 2.1. He once even blocked a staggering 9 shots in a win last July 26 against Laminou’s EAC Generals.
He is also above and beyond the pack in crashing the boards, as his 16.5 rebounding average is 5.4 more than Laminou’s 10.1. He is alone in the single-game rebounding leaderboards with 4 games of at least 22 boards.
Not to be outdone, San Beda also has its own MVP candidate in pro-ready point guard Robert Bolick.
One of the top prospects in the upcoming PBA Draft, the graduating Bolick has shown why he is worthy of a first-round pick with an entire season of masterful, all-around consistency.
He is also most well-known for nabbing a career-high 50 points in an August 24 win against the Arellano Chiefs, obliterating and doubling up his previous high of 25. Aside from draining 5-of-9 (56%) of his triples, the former La Salle reserve showed his true strength with a mix of strong drives and acrobatic layups en route to a 13-of-16 (81%) clip inside the arc.
With a fourth-best 59% two-point field goal percentage in the league after 18 games, Bolick proved his inside game – like most of his skills – is no fluke.
Two teams, two multi-titled coaches and two MVP candidates. The NCAA Finals is only big enough for one of each. – Rappler.com