BEST OF 5 PART 5: You have made them proud, Red Lion pride
The Red Lions' 12-year long success is all because and all for the San Beda community
Read Part 1 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here.
Read Part 2 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here.
Read Part 3 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here.
Read Part 4 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here.
San Beda College has been setting the standard in the NCAA men's seniors basketball tournament for the last 12 years.
We can even argue that they have been doing the same for all of college basketball in the Philippines.
From top-tier talent to top-level coaching, anything and everything has been coming together for the Red Lions over the past dozen years.
That is exactly why what was once a short list of known names as Mendiola’s pride now includes Yousif Alajamal and Sam Ekwe, Borgie Hermida and Ogie Menor, Sudan Daniel and Semerad twins Anthony and David, Baser Amer and Garvo Lanete, Ola Adeogun and Art Dela Cruz, and Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon.
Still, more than just winning, something has to be keeping them going in a dynastic run that has them winning 10 of the last 12 NCAA championships.
For San Beda, without a doubt, that would have to be its community.
So much so that Bolick, coming off one of the most impressive individual seasons in recent memory, will be maximizing his eligibility to keep playing for the red and white. “It’s my responsibility to give one more year for San Beda. The way they treat me, mula sa teachers, sa fathers, sa tao sa cafeteria, sa guards, kahit sino-sinong nandun, grabe lang,” he shared.
He then continued, “You’re inspired to play for them because they have the passion.”
LEAVE IT ALL ON THE FLOOR
In 2016, Bolick won championships in the NCAA, in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Championship, and in the PBA D-League where he was also hailed as MVP. With several clutch shots littered throughout those tournaments, many have said that he was already more than ready for the PBA Draft.
Still, the man they call “Big Shot Bolick” decided to, literally, give his all to the Red Lions. “Credit to the school. I love San Beda and I will stay for one more year for them,” he said.
THEN AND NOW
Mocon, who will also be coming into his fifth and final playing year, echoed the same sentiments. “I will always treat San Beda as my home. I was only a walk-in, but this school welcomed me with open arms and shaped me into the athlete and the student I am today,” he said.
While his running mate guard has only been in Mendiola for a little over three years after transferring from De La Salle University, the versatile forward has been starring in red and white ever since high school.
And when his time as a Red Cub came to an end, there wasn’t even a question if he was staying or not.
For Mocon, the winning tradition backed by all-out support from the community was more than enough reason. “San Beda has pushed me to become the best. Because of this community, we continuously aim for championships and that has been seen through generations and generations of players,” he said.
He then continued, “It is with pride and honor that I played for this school.”
YOU’RE ALL I NEED
With all out support comes sky-high expectations.
As the glory of a 12-year dynasty and counting gets greater and greater, so does the burden of keeping it going get heavier and heavier.
For Bolick, though, that is exactly the way they want it to be. “Losing is not an option and the option is high every time, pero ako, I want to compete. I like to play in that kind of situation,” he said.
He then continued, “Kasi nga grabe yung support nila kaya I hope to win one more championship for them.”
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.