Basketball greats you might not know were once San Beda Red Lions
Barry Viloria on Oct 13, 2016 07:58 PM
They once cried "Animo," too! (Photo courtesy of DonMar from Wikimedia Commons)
“Sila na naman!”—it’s one common cry that came out of NCAA fans following San Beda’s victory last Tuesday, after finishing their finals series against Arellano in just two games. A hint of bitterness aside, it’s a statement that validated Mendiola’s number of wins throughout the NCAA history. In fact, San Beda has collected 20 titles spread across the colorful story of the country’s oldest league, where now-UAAP member schools UP, La Salle, and Ateneo once became part. A little stress on Ateneo, of course—we’re sure your old folks still remember the fierce Beda-Ateneo rivalry in the 30s!
And with the string of wins, San Beda has produced a roster of champ players who have become more than just collegiate stars. Before Sara, Bolick, and Tongco, here are some of the most memorable!
The young gen might have grown unfamiliar with Loyzaga, until news of the 85-year-old’s death last January shook the sports scene. Loyzaga was often called the country’s greatest Filipino baller for his “clean” game play, which he exhibited early on as a Red Lion. He utilized this perfectly in clinching the Zamora Cup, then given in the 50s to a winning team with at least three titles. In his last playing year, Loyzaga boosted Beda against fierce rivals Ateneo towards the special victory, making him the “Big Difference” who had permanently kept the trophy to San Beda. Of course, such tale was just the tip of the iceberg—Loyzaga went on to be a multi-titled pro, two-time Olympian, and coach. His death later led to San Beda retiring his jersey posthumously. (Photo courtesy of @Pbaconnect on Twitter)
Before Caloy, there was Borck, whose blond hair and height betrayed his German and Spanish roots. “The Blond Bombshell” worked as a center, leading Beda to two titles (1934, 1935) that was followed with another after his exit. He also boosted the team in the National Open 1936, and on his own he managed to play and win fifth for the Philippines in the Olympics that same year. He and Loyzaga were among the Red Lions in that era honored at the prestigious "Outstanding Bedans of the Century. Borck, who has since moved to Las Vegas, died in 2008. (Photo courtesy of Leslie Anne Sheanne Urbano)
In 2006, Mendiola came up with their “End 28 @ 82,” a battle cry for the Red Lions in claiming back the title after a 28-year drought. Such drought only happened after 1979, because in 1979, Lim and his team ruled with a championship. Lim next played for the amateur league and eventually the pros before retiring as a player in 1996. Twenty years from then, he has remained a popular (and slightly controversial) figure in Philippine basketball, counting in his four NCAA championships as Beda’s coach and, well, a few, err, encounters with people on the court.
Big Boy Reynoso
Many basketball living legends called Reynoso as the “batang Pasig” who would get scouted in interschool tournaments. After his years in San Beda, he etched a more solid name for himself in the amateur ranks (Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association), in the national team (he was one of the first two NCAA players selected to play for the country!), and, of course, in the pros (when PBA was inaugurated in 1975). Yes, together with his brother Tino, Big Boy played for the legendary Toyota team in the PBA! He passed away in 2011.
UAAP stars LA Tenorio, Ren-Ren Ritualo, and Benjie Paras
These are just some of them who kicked off their basketball careers in Mendiola. Before they became UAAP champs, Ateneo Blue Eagle Tenorio, DLSU Green Archer Ritualo, and UP Fighting Maroon Benjie Paras were once Red Cubs. Moving on to become the hottest figures in the pro, entertainment, and journalism industries, these guys seem to be the next living legends, all of whom, with the rest of the Bedan community, have cried “Animo!” to mark some of the best years of their lives.