Lions complete sweep, NCAA champs anew

The San Beda Red Lions fulfilled their date with destiny as they

completed a sweep of the

National

Collegiate

Athletic

Association (

NCAA) men’s

basketball season to be crowned

champions anew last Friday.

In front of a huge crowd of 13,000-plus at the historic Araneta

Coliseum, the Lions roared their way back to the top of the

NCAA, disposing off erstwhile

champions San Sebastian Golden Stags, 85-70, in Game Two of their

best-of-five finals series.

Needing to win just two games after gaining a direct pass to the

finals, and an automatic a 1-0 edge, following their sweep of the

elimination round, the Lions did not waste time and finished the

job as “prescribed.”

The victory thrust the Lions into the history books as they

became one of the very few teams in the whole of local collegiate

hoops who have finished an entire season spotless. Eighteen times

they were challenged, 18 times the Mendiola-based dribblers emerged

on top.

As was the case for much of Season 86 of the NCAA, it was

another master class that San Beda conducted in Game Two over San

Sebastian. The Stags as expected played with a sense of desperation

and were physical in their attack but the Lions were not to be

denied as the latter remained focused and absorbed everything the

Stags threw at them.

League most valuable player Sudan Daniel led the San Beda charge

in the title-clinching game, finishing with monster numbers of 24

points, 19 rebounds and five blocks. The American Daniel, who took

over the pivot reins from multititled San Beda Nigerian center Sam

Ekwe last year, was a force on both ends of the court to which San

Sebastian had no answer for. He wound up with championship averages

of 19.5 points, 14.5 rebounds and three blocks en route to being

voted finals MVP.

King Lion and Philippine Basketball Association-bound Borgie

Hermida, who led his team in their 93-73 Game One rout of the Stags

on Oct. 13, finished his San Beda career with 10 points, four

rebounds and five assists. Hermida spent 16 years with San Beda as

student and athlete and will be leaving as one of the winningest

players in Lions history. Incidentally, Hermida was also named to

the Mythical Team in his final year, along with teammates Daniel

and Garvo Lanete, San Sebastian’s Calvin Abueva and Arellano’s

Adrian Celada, in ceremonies held prior to the start of Game

Two.

Lanete finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists

for San Beda.

Jonathan Semira, meanwhile, led the way with 13 points for the

runners-up Stags, who are set to lose coach Ato Agustin next season

as he will be taking the coaching duties in San Miguel in the

PBA.

Main man Abueva had a hard time in their last game of the season

as he was limited to just eight points and six rebounds aside from

being called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Daniel in the early

part of the game.

This latest championship of San Beda is the fourth seniors title

in the last five years for the team, and 15th overall, making it

the second winningest school in tournament history. Letran still

has the most titles with 16 under its belt. The Lions’ sweep was

the first to be fashioned out in the last 16 years. The last team

to accomplish such a rare feat was San Sebastian.