Friday, November 4, 2011
MANILA, Philippines - The San Beda College Red Lions were able to win their second straight NCAA seniors' championship and 16th in school history even without last season's Most Valuable Player Sudan Daniel.
NCAA Season 86 MVP Sudan Daniel suffered
an ACL injury in the pre-season and did not play a single second in Season 87.
Daniel suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the pre-season and did not play a single second in Season 87. Yet, the Red Lions annexed their second straight championship, sweeping arch-rivals San Sebastian College Golden Stags in the Finals.
San Beda head coach Frankie Lim is proud of his players for retaining the crown even without their dominant center.
"This year, importante sa amin to accept the fact that Su (Daniel) will not play, kasi baka hanap-hanapin nila," he said in ANC's Hardball. "That's the reason why I talked to my big guys and told them that it's all of you, kayo na lang. We cannot look for Su, we cannot hope that Su comes back in October. Wala ng ganon."
Since Lim took over the Red Lions five years ago, the team has won four championships, only losing in 2009 to San Sebastian.
One of the San Beda big men, Jake Pascual, said this year's championship was especially memorable precisely because they had to play it without Daniel.
"Sabi nga ng iba, wala kaming import. All-Filipino," he said. "Dito makikita yung team work talaga ng San Beda."
The Red Lions have been criticized for relying on foreign big men to win championships, with Nigerian Sam Ekwe during their first three-peat, and with Daniel during their 18-game sweep of last season.
But they proved this year that they are able to win even without an 'import.'
Lim is especially proud of his big men, who took on his pre-season challenge.
"They handled the situation very well, and most importantly, they delivered. I feel that I have the best bigs in the tournament, even with Su. Lalaban ang mga ito," he said.
Graduating big man Dave Marcelo was named Finals MVP after averaging 13.5 rebounds and anchoring the Red Lions' defense. Jake and Kyle Pascual teamed up to deny regular season MVP Calvin Abueva and Mythical 5 member Ian Sangalang in the paint.
Guard Rome dela Rosa says he never once doubted his team's ability to make it back to the Finals.
"No doubt at all. I believe in these guys, I believe in what we're capable of doing. Pretty much that - just how we did it, even with Su, all Filipinos," dela Rosa said.
By Camille B. Naredo,