FIVE-time straight champion San Beda College is aiming for a record six-peat in the 91st season of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament set to start on June 27 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
No team has achieved the feat since 1924. The highest number of championships won was five, attained by the San Sebastian College Stags and Red Lions last year.
The arrival of new head coach Jamike Jarin and the presence of veterans Arthur de la Cruz, 6’9 Nigerian Ola Adeogun and Baser Amer make the Red Lions a top favorite in the oldest collegiate league in the country this year.
Adeogun is one of the few players with an average double-double figures—16.1 points and 11.5 rebounds a game while De la Cruz boasts of a high 46 percent shooting plus 9.4 rebounds. Amer, on the other hand, is lethal in the assists and steals department.
The Red Lions’ victory in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup is a testament to the team’s prowess. San Beda has already amassed a total of 19 seniors basketball crown in the NCAA.
Jarin, who replaced Boyet Fernandez, admitted the pressure of coaching the champion team for the past five years but said he is ready for the task.
Cameroonian David Tankoua will support Adeogun while veterans Roldan Sara, Ranbill Tongco and Ryusei Koga will back up Amer at the backcourt positions.
Jarin cited Jose Rizal Heavy Bombers, University of Perpetual Help Altas and last year’s runner-up Arellano University Chiefs as e possible threat to the Red Lions’ quest for sixth title.