At First Glance: San Beda Red Lions
Pio Garcia (The Philippine Star) - June 20, 2013 - 12:00am

The local college hoops circuit has already begun.

There are teams that have souped up. There are teams that have watered down. Nonetheless, this creates for a good barometer of what to expect once the NCAA or UAAP play begins and culminates in the PCCL.

The Red Lions weren’t that great last season. Yes, even if they won the championship in the end, it was not done in dominating fashion despite the big names inside the college hoops circuit. They tended to slow things down when they could’ve just ran. But still, their good is better than most of the NCAA pool.

The Good

The Red Lions are bringing everybody back minus three seniors this time around. The core of Baser Amer, Ola Adeogun, Rome Dela Rosa and Kyle Pascual will continue to be leaned on. Ryusei Koga should be better now after a year of serious NCAA burn time under his belt. They may have lost Anjo Caram but Francis Abarcar has quickly established his new role of being the chief reliever to the best college point guard in the nation right now – Amer.

Going inside, the Lions still hold a twin towers convention if and when Pascual and Adeogun play together. With those two around, no one’s going to be pounding the ball with much ease in the paint. They should start playing together longer and even starting on the floor together. Why? This establishes the post game of San Beda and opens things up for the gunners.

The Bad

The graduation of “The Snake,” Jake Pascual, is definitely a mighty blow to that humongous frontline of the Lions.

Pascual was their best defender, man for man.

He was the leader, the heart and soul, the captain.

Others would step up, surely, but it’s hard to replace the intangibles, the flying elbows, the angas factor that Pascual provides. Also, it’s hard to replace a sureball 15-18 footer to free up the driving lanes for Art Dela Cruz, Rome Dela Rosa and Baser Amer.

Who’ll fill in his shoes? At best, it should be done by committee unless Art Dela Cruz has other plans.

The Ugly

San Beda now parades Boyet Fernandez after Ronnie Magsanoc decided to return to his TV career as a color analyst. Boyet can take this crew to the Finals, no doubt. However, what will be his offensive system?

The Lions are good defensively. But offensively, they grounded to a halt last season. With Magsanoc’s patient half court style, the high-octane Lions whimpered. Maybe it’s best if Boyet reconsiders that. These Lions were made to run. Jaypee Mendoza, Rome, Baser, Art, Koga, these guys are grey hounds who can blitz and thunder across the hardwood for easy deuces.

But, that is, if the new coach decides to consider that.

Watch out for…

Arthur Dela Cruz.

This prodigal Lion has provided the scoring boost San Beda needed from the bench last season. Now, this former Red Cub hotshot will be punishing people with his Mac Cardona-like semi-hooks. In case you are wondering, Dela Cruz can also rough it up with the best of them.

He can play three or four, even five if it’s small ball attack for the Red Machine. He can take it off the dribble, work the post and even shoot  a mid-range jumper. This talented young man has successfully translated his big boy game in the high school level unlike some others who got washed out and got nailed to the bench, becoming utterly useless save for five fouls a game.

Full Roster – San Beda College Red Lions

1. Abarcar, Francis Johnson E.

2. Abatayo, Van Adam P.

3. Adeogun, Olaide J.

4. Amer, Baser C.

5. Bonsubre, Jr., Antonio R.

6. De La Cruz, Arthur A.

7. De La Rosa, Rome Adler D.

8. Koga, Ryusei G.

9. Ludovice, John Mark Yvan B.

10. Mendoza, Jaypee B.

11. Pascual, Kyle N.

12. Sara, Roldan V.

13. Semerad, Anthony Paul D.

14. Semerad, David John D.

15. Villaruz, Ritchie Jon B.

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