With Amer-Adeogun-dela Cruz, San Beda still the favorites

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 26, 2015 07:12 PM
With Amer-Adeogun-dela Cruz, San Beda still the favorites
STILL THE ONE. Not once in their collegiate careers in San Beda have Ola Adeogun, Baser Amer, and Art dela Cruz not been champions.

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 13-5, first, champion

YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Ola Adeogun, Baser Amer, Art dela Cruz

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Pierre Tankoua, Jamike Jarin (head coach)

GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Kyle Pascual, Anthony Semerad

Opponents in the upcoming NCAA season should expect more of the same from five-peat champion San Beda College, with one caveat that is – an even improved more of the same that has brought home eight of the last nine championships to Mendiola.

“Winning five straight championships, eight of the last nine seasons, we don’t need to make a lot of adjustments,” coach Jamike Jarin told ABS-CBN Sports, stating the obvious regarding a team that remains secured of its contender status as only Kyle Pascual and Anthony Semerad are the contributors no longer with them.

Jarin added, however, “I’d like to extend our defense. San Beda is known for playing good 50 feet defense so I’d like to increase that up to 90 feet.”

The new mentor of the Red Lions showed just what he meant in the preseason by unleashing different defensive packages on opponents. One moment, full court pressure shifts into 3-2 zone in the half court and then the next instance, man-to-man turns into 1-2-1 zone with 6’8” Ola Adeogun, yes the polarizing hulking Nigerian, the one closest to the three-point line.

Jarin’s schemes have thus far garnered mixed results, but the frightening thing is that while he and his team are still clearly adjusting to each other, San Beda still won its first Filoil title in the preseason by blasting defending champion De La Salle University, 79-53.

More than their coach’s innovations, however, San Beda remains the favorite to win it all for the sixth consecutive time because of the triumvirate of Adeogun, Baser Amer, and Art dela Cruz who also happen to be their three scoring leaders.

Amer and Adeogun were called by Jarin as “the best point guard in college” and “the best center in the league,” respectively, while dela Cruz was a Mythical selection in the 2015 Filoil. The triumvirate will be surrounded by a supporting cast who understand their roles in keeping, if not bettering, their third-best offense and second-best defense from the past year.

Still, the new San Beda coach does not want to guarantee an unprecedented six-peat. What the 44-year-old promised to Mendiola was, “Everybody’s expecting us to win, but we all know it’s going to be difficult. One thing definite that I could promise is we will come in very prepared and very competitive.”

San Beda opens the 91st Season of the NCAA against season hosts Mapua on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena. The game will be broadcast LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23 at 1:00 PM and will also be streamed LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports.com.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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