Hapee back-to-back title bid in peril as San Beda players told to concentrate on NCAA campaign
Ola Adeogun was able to suit up for Hapee in the PBA D-League by virtue of the Fresh Fighters' school tie-up with San Beda. Jerome Ascano

HAPEE’S bid for a back-to-back PBA D-League championships faces a major stumbling block.

San Beda players currently making up the core of the Fresh Fighters' lineup have been advised by new Red Lions coach Mike Jarin to concentrate on the school's title-retention campaign in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Jarin revealed he wants San Beda players to stay with the team in what could be a busy off-season that will have the five-time champions training in Las Vegas this summer and competing in the Filoil Flying V pre-season tournament.

Hapee has a school tie-up  with San Beda, which lent players Ola Adeogun and Baser Amer to the team during the Aspirants Cup. Both played key roles when the Fresh Fighters won the championship with a two-game sweep of Cagayan Valley in the finals.

“They (Adeogun and Baser) played already last conference. We want them to concentrate on San Beda for our preparations in the NCAA,” said Jarin.

The possible absence of both Red Lions could be a blow to the Fresh Fighters’ bid to complete a season sweep.

Hapee also faces the prospects of missing more players due to two regional competitions the country will be joining in this year.

With most of Hapee’s players potentially making it to the national team, owner Dr. Cecilio Pedro has expressed his intention to sponsor the Philippine squad to Southeast Asian Games this June.

He said part of the national team’s preparation for the biennial meet is to see action in the Foundation Cup which opens on March 12.

The all-amateur Philippine team will also play in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship slated this April.

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