Nov. 16, 2013
SM Mall of Asia Arena,
The long season of the 89th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament has ended.
In my opinion, it has set a new record in league history after it was held for around five months.
And, It will be remembered by scribes like Cedelf Tupas (Inquirer), Joey Villar (Phil. Star), the rookie Christian Jacinto (Manila Bulletin, Karlo Sacamos (Spin.ph), Marivic Awitan (Balita), Theodore Jurado (Journal), Jonathan Perez (Business Mirror) and me for the length time it took to finish the season.(and also the NCAA.orp.ph people like Mia Domingo).
The numerous natural disasters which took the place along the way, including the 7.6 magnitude earthquake in Bohol and the supertyphoon Yolanda, the tragedies and all, made it memorable.
Fatherhood, or parenthood, made it meaningful to Joey Villar, now a doting father to Iago Sebastian.
As for the San Beda Red Lions, they finished their successful campaign with a simple celebration tonight at the San Beda College campus in Mendiola, Manila with members of the community.
But, it is not like previous festivities.
There is no street party, nor are bands playing, and not as flashy like in previous years.
A very simple party with the rest of the community is being planned this Friday.
Because of the destructive effects of supertyphoon Yolanda on the population on parts of the Eastern Visayas region, supporters of the school just held mass and a dinner.
This is in sympathy to the victims, the dead and the living alike, the homeless and those who are now in refugee camps in Cebu City and Pasay City.
(The Red Lions celebrate. photo sourced from Jan Dizon, NCAA.org.ph on Facebook).
SAN BEDA 60, LETRAN 56: HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE
The defending champion San Beda Red Lions turned to the free throw line at endgame.
Charities from coming from John Ludovice and Adeogun in the last 30 seconds allowed the Red Lions to snare the men’s crown for a fourth straight year in the 89th National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Ludovice split charities in the last 29.8 seconds, while Adeogun sank both his attempts with 1.7 ticks left.
This lifted the Red Lions to a 60-56 beating of the Knights.
With their latest title conquest, the Red Lions claimed their 18th overall crown in the men’s division.
Since last year, they have already surpassed the Knights as the winningest collegiate squad in the league.
The Knights have 16 crowns after finishing runners-up twice over the last two years.
Historically, this is the first time that the Red Lions have won a four-peat as well.
They surpassed the three-peats which they achieved from 2006 to 2009, and from 1934 to 1936.
The other three-peats were achieved by Letran (1982 to 1984), Ateneo (1931-1933) and University of the Philippnes-Manila (1924-to 26).
No varsity squad has yet matched the five-peat of the San Sebastian Stags (1993-1997).
Coach Boyet Fernandez, who now knows of the feeling of how it is to coach a champion team on his first try, gave credit to Adeogun for rallying his teammates on with 17 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
One of Adeogun’s block off Kevin Racal came in the last 8.6 seconds, and this forced a crucial turnover.
“He came out like a lion. He swatted every shot, he got every rebound, and that’s Ola Adeogun. And I told him, if he will just play the way you’re playing, we’ll not win the game. But if you step up your game, we’ll win this fourpeat,”said Fernandez.
“True to my words, he came out in the second half, and gave this championship to us,” added Fernandez.
Arthur de la Cruz, who was adjudged as the Finals MVP, showed the way with 20 points and 16 rebounds.
(A double teamed Arthur de la Cruz going for a jumper). Photo sourced from Jan Dizon, NCAA.org.ph Facebook page.
He rose to the occasion after Adeogun got shackled to five points in the first half.
The Red Lions finished their best-of-three title series at 2-1, and after they won Game 1 with an 80-68 repulsing of the Knights.
The Knights bounced in Game 2, 79-74, to equalize the series at 1-all.
They were enjoying a 52-51 edge in the last 3:50 off foul-troubled Raymund Almazan’s perimeter shot in the final 3:50.
After that Adeogun and de la Cruz struck in succession, 55-52, in the last three minutes.
Kevin Racal, who had seven points, sank two charities off Arthur de la Cruz’s foul in the final 1:48, allowing the Knights to threaten, 54-55.
De la Cruz then kept the Red Lions ahead with 1:03 with a perimeter shot from the left, 57-54.
The Knights still hung on, and threatened, 56-57, some 12 seconds later when Almazan hit a jumper off Mark Cruz’s pass.
Ludovice’s split found its mark with 29.8 seconds remaning, giving the Red Lions a 58-56 lead, and the expense of Cruz’s second foul.
Cruz was never the same again as he went down with cramps on his left foot right after.
With Cruz, the Knights’ top point guard, in pain, regain ball possession in the ensuing play after Adeogun came away with a clean block off Racal as he was in mid-air, making an attempt.
They lost Racal to five, and after he was penalizing while hounding de la Cruz and Adeogun.
Adeogun scored both his charities in the last 1.7 seconds at the expense of Racal.
“Credit to all my players. It’s Ola and all the rest, Rome, Baser, Kyle, and Art. Art is like a libero. Parang sa libero ng volleyball, pasok-pasok lang. Kailangan ko talaga siya. He is my secret weapon. If he plays bad, we’re dead,” said Fernandez.
– HOW THEY FARED IN OTHER QUARTERS
The Knights turned the ball over thrice in succession in the last 1:23 of the third.
This was after Nambatac bungled two triples and Belorio missed one.
The Red Lions took advantage of this, grabbing the upperhand anew off a trio of drives from Baser Amer, 45-42.
Drawing seven points from de la Cruz at the half, the Red Lions took charge in the first period, 14-7.
But the Knights managed to overtake them in the second period behind Almazan, Mark Cruz and Ford Ruaya.
Francis Abarcar and Kyle Pascual gave San Beda its biggest lead in the second canto, a 18-7 advantage in the 8:37 off Abarcar’s two gift shots, and Pascual’s jumper.
Almazan then led an counterattack with his driving shot and putback, and Kevin Racal eventually forced a 20-all tie off his three freebies.
They then took a 26-20 lead behind McJour Luib, Ruaya and Cruz with 2:31 to go.
Cruz’s two charities in the remaining 1:16 allowed Letran to take an eight point edge, 30-22, at halftime.
San Beda 60- Dela Cruz 20, Adeogun 17, Amer 6, Dela Rosa 6, Pascual 4, Abarcar 2, A. Semerad 2, Ludovice 2, Sara 1, D. Semerad 0.
Letran 56- Almazan 14, Cruz 10, Nambatac 10, Ruaya 9, Racal 7, Belorio 4, Luib 2, Castro 0, Po 0, Tambeling 0, Buenaflor 0, Gabawan 0.
Quarterscores: 14-7, 24-30, 45-43, 60-56.