It’s been twelve whole months, a 16-game elimination round per team, a crazy little stepladder Final Four and look where the NCAA finds itself: right back where it was last year. [firstpara]
Once again, it’s San Beda-San Sebastian for all the marbles.
And this year, there’s more at stake than just another championship.
For both squads, this series is all about redemption.
Oh, and the championship. That’s pretty cool, too.
Okay, so maybe it isn’t exactly like last year. By virtue of their elimination round sweep, the Red Lions will enjoy a thrice-to-beat advantage; which is pretty much like entering a best-of-five series up 1-0.
This means San Beda will only need to win twice while San Sebastian will need three wins to successfully defend their crown.
SAN BEDA RED LIONS VS SAN SEBASTIAN GOLDEN STAGS
San Beda Red Lions
Strengths: Talent. In terms of firepower, no other team in the NCAA even comes close. The Red Lions have some of the best players in college ball right now. PBA-bound veteran Borgie Hermida (11.3 points, a league-best 5.5 assists) might be the best point guard in the NCAA.
Garvo Lanete (who averages a team-best 14.4 points) is an explosive scorer who can get 20+ points easy. Sophomore Rome dela Rosa (11.2) is a mismatch against whoever is guarding him. But there likely isn’t any more talented than MVP candidate Sudan Daniel.
The 6’7 center averaged 10.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.2 blocks in the elimination round. He not only posted a rare points-rebounds-blocks triple-double this season, he did it TWICE. More than the numbers, though, Daniel’s size and athleticism make him next-to-impossible to go up against. His presence in the paint allows the rest of the Lions to take risks defensively.
This translates to them forcing the turnovers that fuel San Beda’s devastating fastbreak attack. And when the Red Lions get out and run, there’s really no stopping them. Hermida, Lanete and dela Rosa are all phenomenal finishers and willing passers who thrive on the open court.
And man, are they BIG. Outside of the point guard spot, where they’re kind of smallish, they just make opponents look undersized. 6’5 Dave Marcelo is arguably the second-best center in the NCAA.
6’4 Former Rookie of the Year Jake Pascual, and rookies Anthony Semerad (6’5), Jaypee Mendoza (6’4) and Kyle Pascual (6’6) are all quick, mobile bigs that get regular minutes in the rotation. No surprise then that this team always dominates the rebounding battle.
WORDS BY: MIKKEL BOLANTE some (of that awesports blog Patay ang Butiki)