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NCAA Finals Preview: San Beda vs. Arellano

Baser Amer and the San Beda Red Lions aim for a fifth straight NCAA title against
Jio Jalalon and Finals debutant Arellano Chiefs. NCAA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

The UAAP is over. The CESAFI is over. The PBA has just started. But... #HindiPaTaposAngNCAA! For this week only though as the championship series between San Beda and Arellano rages on beginning tomorrow. Here's my take on what one of my friends in the online media industry would dub as the "Battle of Sampaloc 2".

History: This is the first time both the Red Lions and the Chiefs collide in an NCAA Finals affair. In fact, this is the first time Arellano ever made the last dance. But considering the Chiefs' rich history in the mid-majors, expect fireworks in this one.

What Now: San Beda and Arellano met thrice in the eliminations. San Beda won the opener, while Arellano took the next one. The Red Lions then nailed the Chiefs down in their recent meeting to book the top spot in the Final Four. San Beda took down Perpetual Help, while Arellano, the second-seed, deposed JRU in the semis to book the championship showdown.

Key Match-Up: Ola Adeogun vs. Dioncee Holts-It looks like the foreign players will take spotlight in this one. The Nigerian Adeogun, a Mythical Five member, will be in charge in the Red Lions' interior as he will try to outmuscle the Chiefs' big men. The American Holts, on the other hand, may not be as strong as Adeogun, but he can be deadly from the outside as he can stretch the defense out, leaving the paint open for the locals get a backdoor play. His brilliance led Dioncee, the "Destiny's Child", to the Rookie of the Year plum.