|The coaches are ready for the new season of NCAA which tips off tomorrow. Franchesca Nicole Collantes/Dugout Philippines|
By Mark Angelo Mañez
PASAY -- San Beda University will try to extend their reign for one more year as they collide with season hosts Perpetual Help to kick off NCAA's 94th Season at the Mall of Asia Arena, Saturday.
The Red Lions remains the consensus favorite with the retention of their championship core. Robert Bolick, Jayvee Mocon and last season's Finals MVP Cameroonian Donald Tankoua will take charge, while also acquiring blue-chip rookie Even Nelle from its Red Cubs squad further boosting their already loaded core.
Clint Doligez, Franz Abuda, Jose Mari Presbitero, AC Sobreano, Ranbill Tongco, Jerimer Cabanag, and Calvin Oftana also remain for San Beda, which has made the finals 12 straight times and 10 championships during its run.
San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez, however, stressed the league is balanced and anyone can beat anyone during the launch of the new season last Tuesday at the MOA Arena.
"Yes, we have experience and we're almost intact. But I still think it will be tough this season because teams have beefed up," said Fernandez.
To open the season, the reigning champs will tackle the season hosts, who now has former Bedan legend Frankie Lim at the helm, at the 2:00 PM curtain-raiser.
The other much-awaited opening day duel pits runner-up Lyceum against San Sebastian soon after.
Season 94 will be the second year the NCAA on Tour, with JRU set to face Mapua on its Kalentong court on June 12
"For the second straight year, we will be bringing our NCAA games straight to the students with our "NCAA on Tour", said Tamayo, with EAC, Arellano, Letran and Perpetual Help reprising their hosting duties from last year.
Former Altas mentor Arturo "Bai" Cristobal will be league commissioner and will tap a new set of referees also officiating in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
Follow him on Twitter: @MAManez_DPH16