Not content at being the winningest team in the country’s oldest collegiate basketball league, San Beda College is gunning for another distinction in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA): a fifth straight championship.
San Beda already has 18 titles to its name, but it wants to equal the “five-peat” feat of San Sebastian College in the 10-team league.
After the spectacular electronic light-and-sound opening show at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday put up by this season’s host Jose Rizal University, the Red Lions began their quest in earnest.
They overwhelmed Jose Rizal’s Heavy Bombers, 57-49, establishing its standing as a strong title favorite.
Olaide Adeogun and Baser Amer combined for 26 points in the first half to power the Red Lions.
“I’m just happy that we got this game. There are several corrections that we should make in the next game,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez. “Credit goes to my boys especially my big men for taking care of the post. They put up a good defense.”
Fernandez has a personal goal to pursue: a second straight crown as a coach.
San Beda jumped to an early 14-4 lead, but the Heavy Bombers clamped down on Amer and Adeogun to tie the game several times, the last at 20-all behind Michael Mabulac, Bernabe Teodoro and Gio Lasquete’s second-quarter burst.
But Adeogun and Amer got their game going in the third period, leading a 14-2 run as San Beda erected its biggest lead, 46-31.
The 6-foot-8 Adeogun topscored for the Red Lions with 20 points on top of 14 rebounds, two assists, two blocks.
The San Sebastian Stags and Letran Knights are considered to be the teams that will stand in the way of San Beda’s title campaign.