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Defense Key to Red Lions No. 17

Sunday, 28 October 2012 80 Comments

NCAA Season 88 Finals Game 3: San Beda Red Lions vs. Letran Knights, Oct 267 straight finals appearance.  6 Championships. 2 three-peats. 17 Championship banners.  The San Beda Red Lions are the winningest team in the oldest collegiate league in the country.

“This was a difficult championship. Letran made it tough for us. We went through a lot for this,” Magsanoc said during his Game 3 post-game interview. “We have been working hard for the past seven months and I always told the boys it’s all about the sacrifices we are willing to make.”

Indeed.  Those 7 months felt like dog years.  San Beda has its own little back story. There were a bunch of challenges in the off-season.  The team had to adjust to a new coach and a new system.  The loss of some key pieces with issues that decimated Red Lions line-up, leaving them without a legit go-to-guy.  Players slapped with infractions which led to the team’s Super Six.

A loss to the Altas and two more elimination round losses against the Golden Stags has left a huge cloud of doubt if they still have the spunk to repeat as Champions, but despite the Red Lions weakened state, Coach Louie Alas, in a media gathering before game 3 still considers San Beda a major force to reckon with.  A team without set of scorers but has a deep bench is still dangerous because at any given moment, anybody or everybody is a threat.  A case in point, was Ryusei Koga’s explosion in Game 1, when he surprised everyone with 3 straight wide open lay-ups and a clutch 3-pointer at the very bottom of the 4th quarter.

The 1st game of the series, anything can happen, the outcome was decided minutes, even seconds, before the end of regulation.  It was anybody’s ballgame.

After game 2, a lot of people questioned the Red Lions’ resolve.  Their desire to win.  Many said that their hearts weren’t in it.

With momentum on Letran’s side, Coach Magsanoc calmly went to the basics. Emphasizing and repeating that their primary goal was to make the key stops to finish the race, to sacrifice for the team.

To get his team psyched for the mission, the team viewed a capsulized post-game video of the Knights’ Jonathan Belorio after their 9 point triumph over the Red Lions in Game 2 when they heard him say that his team (Letran) can beat San Beda, playing it over and over approximately 4 times during the course of their huddle to set the tone.  Suddenly, the atmosphere in the locker room suddenly became livid, as if eager to make an unyielding statement.

At the final buzzer, the result was one of the most lopsided Game 3 affairs on record.

“I’m tired but I’m very proud we won it,” said guard Anjo Caram, who played his last year with San Beda. “I will never forget this championship. We won a close game in Game 1 and then Letran came back strong in Game 2 but we kept our composure.”

In their pre-game huddle, Coach Magsanoc challenged everyone’s emotions. Challenged their resolve.  To finish THE race.   From his 3 point performance in Game 1, then 9-points in Game 2, Caram responded with en emphatic 17 points, winning his point-guard match-up against Mark Cruz in Game 3.

Ola Adeogun inserted in the starting five

Inserting the Big O in the starting line-up immediately boosted the inside presence of the Red Lions scoring 6 points in the 1st quarter but committed his 3rd personal fouls late in the 2nd quarter, forcing Coach Magsanoc to bench him thru most of the 2nd half, good thing veteran Kyle Pascual was there to pick up the slack producing 11 rebounds while containing both Raymund Alamazan and Jam Cortes (6 points, 6 rebounds) in the process.

NCAA Season 88 Finals Game 3: San Beda Red Lions vs. Letran Knights, Oct 26The resurgence of Jake Pascual 

He has been silent. Somehow bothered by his shoulder injury, the Red Lions skipper has been quiet all season but in game 3, he came out to play.  His statement to Geoffrey Go, a Bedan Alumnus, during a team huddle in a timeout that occurred somewhere in the 2nd half – “aalis ako sa NCAA na 3-peat champion” – reverberated in his game as he snared 10 points on a 38% shooting from the field, 9 rebounds, and hustled with 3 steals – a big boost from his 8 points and 4 rebound production in Game 1 and 6 points & 4 rebounds in Game 2.  He saved his best for the most important game of his senior career.

D for V

Defense does Win Championships but there’s another key element that should be part of the equation in any title run – Rebounding.  Basketball is a also game of possession.  More possessions mean more chances of scoring.  To increase your chances, either you rebound the basketball or you play faster and go for the quick kill, better known as the 8 seconds or less offense.  From a team average of 44.6 rebounds per game, the Red Lions dropped a total of 50 rebounds in game 3, boosting their offensive rebounding numbers by an additional 4 rebounds.  The result, was a 10-6 advantage in 2nd chance points.

San Beda did both.  They played excellent defense inside and out.  Switching, helping and rotating.  They’ve held Kevin Alas to a meager 11 points from his usual 20 points per game average and Mark Cruz though he managed to hit his game average of 10.7 points, the diminutive but productive Letran court general had to grind for each and every shot.  He also failed to get his teammates involved with only 2 assists in Game 3 from an average of 3.8 assists after Game 2 and with an 18-12 advantage in turnover points, their commitment to defense played a key role in deposing the Knights.

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Mike is a former NCAA Game analyst under Studio 23. He was also a former Game Analyst for the 2005 Collegiate Champions League (CCL), 2008 Philippine Collegiate Championships (PCC), 2005 and 2006 National Basketball Conference (NBC) and 2005 Global Destiny Basketball League (GBDL). Started writing about College Basketball with Follow me on Twitter: michaelabasolo




  • DP/Fedex says:

    Another championship banner for the Red School. Thank you Lord for the blessings you have showered upon us. We are very humbled by this victory and again have written another history in collegiate basketball. I rest my case. GO SAN BEDA FIGHT

  • YHplayedForSBC says:

    CFL will appeal to MANCOM to end his suspension now that he already served 1 year and that the case with gorayeb has been dismissed.

    Interesting. I hope he comes back to the den to coach.

  • predictor says:

    Imports (Ekwe, Daniel, and Adeogun) the keys to SBC’s 12th-17th titles. Fixed the Column title.

    • Default says:

      your team’s mediocre bball program, key to SBC’s titles

      • gaucho says:

        talaga tong si predictor oo. d makatulog. LOL. parang batang na agawan ng kendi. hehe

        problemahin mo yang letran mo at mukhang lumala pa yang programa nyo sa pagkawala ng coach nyo.

    • Bedan Jalapeño says:

      dont worry too much we have more imports to come!

    • Even without Adeogun, they would have beaten you… with all respect… I am assuming you are a Knight.

      It might be different with the Stags!

    • Mike Abasolo says:

      Hi Predictor,

      I think we have to move on with this issue. Every one in the NCAA had that benefit. San Beda also won without one vs. a hardened team like the Golden Stags in Season 87. Pardon me, but i have to ask to widen your perspective a bit. Thanks.

      • CPM says:

        Hi Mike,

        Any news on SBC’s new recruits?

        Do we have any blue chip player coming in?

        • Mike abasolo says:

          The Red Lions will have the Semerads back, Dan Sara, Abatayo. The Season 88 line-up has been the weakest since Season 82. Season 89 will be another powerhouse roster.

          • Spectator says:

            I beg to disagree Mike, the last man to make the cut this year was the finals MVP of the Juniors division, The man he beat for the award, Thomas Torres even starts for La Salle in the UAAP. Smaller line-up would probably be more appropriate.

          • highdef says:

            Hi Mike, I thought the Semerad Twins were off to Ateneo? I haven’t been actively reading collegiate news online lately. What happened there?

          • skull says:

            Not really…to be able to beat a complete arellano university with only 6 freshmen..o sige 5..since Art is already a veteran…goes to show that this RL line-up is not weak..siguro the most apt word is..challenged! daming drama during the off season at noong pre season!

          • gaucho says:

            ibig ata sabihin ni Mike “weakest” compared to the previous teams since ’06.

    • bystander says:

      With the way Letran played Game 3, even the Red Cubs could have beaten them.

      Funny how some Letran fans keep harping on San Beda’s 28-year drought. Ayan tuloy tinambakan sila ng 28 points. One for every year so that they will have their own “28″ to remember.

    • Bedan from California says:

      Should we also complain the fact that Hakeem Olajuwon is Nigerian, Tony Parks is French, Steve Nash is Canadian, Nene Hilario is Brazilian and so forth….

      The game is becoming very international. Both Amateur and Professional… Letran, with its xenophobic attitude of singling out foreingers, will be soooo left behind. That’s just the way it is…

  • Mr. JJ says:

    Another season to be remembered in the NCAA!
    We should also thank the men behind TV5 and Aktv for giving that needed hype to the league! Now its up to the participating schools to sustain it by supporting their respective teams.

    BTW, who are the incoming blue-chip recruits (in any schools) next season?

    I know that the decision to ban “foreign players” will start by season 90 but is this one prospective? Meaning all foreigners recruited prior to season 90 can play until their final year of eligibility? Also, are there any chances for this decision to be reversed?

    • Knightstrike says:

      No thanks for us? Well, we were after all the host. Joke!

      On a side note, I personally wish that MANCOM won’t proceed with the banning of the foreign players. I mean everyone by now has learned how to play against the likes of Ola, Omorogbe, Happi, etc. So why ban them?

      Also, they are still scholar students (on athletic scholarship). If you take away athletic sponsorship for these guys, you’re also taking away their chances to study. Most of these guys come from poverty-stricken countries. If you don’t let them play, they won’t get a chance to rise out of those status.

      • Bedan Jalapeño says:


      • Mr. JJ says:

        Of course thank you to CSJL not only for making a good run in the finals (though we know Letranites felt bad with game 3), I really wish that CSB can “at least” match what you guys have done in season 88.

        With regards to banning foreign players to play in the league, I wish this will not push through since this can or should I say, this will really kill the league when it comes to competition and media attention.

  • RED_BARON says:

    When the RLs swept the 2010 season, we thought we can do the same in the PCCL We were however derailed by the gritty greenhorns of La Salle in the quarterfinals and a number of diehards, myself included, clamored for CFL’s head.

    Winning cures everything. CRM’s tenure is secured.

  • Vino says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thought the Semerad twins were going to Ateneo next season. What changed that led them to come back to the San Beda line-up? Also, can you talk more on the new additions (Sara, Abatayo).


    • Knightstrike says:

      I’m guessing it’s because MVP is not Ateneo’s patron anymore. =p

      • YHplayedForSBC says:

        MVP issue is very recent. Semerads came back earlier this year. Im very sure it was not bec of mvp leaving ateneo.

      • Red Cafe says:

        I think the Semerats never knew what was at stake for them. They never thought that they had to sit out for 2 years, one for residency purposes and the second as a penalty for playing at the D league under Maynilad. Next, hey had to go back to 1st year college for I believe Ateneo will not accept an incoming 3rd year students from their curriculum. So they’re left with 1 year of playing year Besides, Anthony has been ailing with his Achilles for quite sometime now and barely made it to the Finals last year. Also with the departure of coach Norman from the squad then whom shall they turn too? So that’s what a showbiz agent can do for you! Ruin your basketball career and exhaust all means from earning money from all related fashion shows, tv guesting, modelling etc… Before it was just scholarship and basketball. Now it’s all about money and fame!

      • the hammer says:

        from what i know. technically the twins are still enrolled in sbc. only to found out na ganun nga 1year nalang ang playing year nila sa uaap.

      • skull says:

        it about the coaching staff of SBC…the semerads returned because the RLs is now coached by CRM.

  • red guard says:

    @ Mike Abasolo

    just a slight correction..i was talking to Geoffrey earlier and he said Jake’s defining statement was actually on the eve of the game not at halftime..which goes to show the resolve, the fire in Jake and the rest of the RLs going into game 3

  • gaucho says:

    para sa mga ka-edad ko. haha. enjoy the reminisce

  • gaucho says:

    well, another season’s over. it has been a rough & tumble affair for the RL’s this year. there were lots of rancor, all in the spirit of wanting to win. in the end, we’re all in it for school’s glory. i’m just happy we, The Lions, came through.

    with this i bid you farewell, ’til the next season…even the pre-season. to the Red Lions, i’d like to leave you with this:


  • kambal says:

    lahat ng kambal kunin na ng beda at pati si obama kunin na nila, para sila uli next year sila na lang lagi hehe, magsasawa din yan

  • kambal says:

    lahat ng klase ng gulang gawin na nila heheh

  • kambal says:

    magsasawa din yan 28 years ba namang walang championship heheheheh

  • Red Cafe says:

    Hey Bedan brothers it seems like we got a quite of Jazz enthusiasts here… Can anyone make a site of Jazz Bedans and invite us? That would be another great site to extend our brotherhood for the love of music! gaucho, bystander, Bedan Jalapeno, Madz and Juiced, Badong, Mav.

  • ingit-err--o! says:

    Animo San Beda! i have a feeling na isang buong dekada magiging dominante ang sbc! expect them to win all the titles expect the year that they will be hosting, If im right, which i may not be, the host never won the title, 09, sbc was the host, lost to baste, 12 letran was host, lost to sbc,.. so were sure of atleast 9 years of championship..,

  • ingit-err--o! says:

    *** exept

  • ingit-err--o! says:

    *** exept***

  • ingit-err--o! says:

    correction- exept***

  • cas 88 says:

    fellow bedans, if you want to open a bedan jazz forum in fb, that would be so cool. we can talk sports, san beda and jazz. i can create a page in fb today, under SAN BEDA JAZZ FORUM. so excited to share tunes like stanley clarke’s together again, or paulinho da costa’s dreamflow or sanborn’s clara’s song. see you in fb. animo san beda jazz fans.

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