SAN Beda is eyeing to return to the top of the NCAA Season 93 juniors basketball but the road will definitely not be easy for the Red Cubs.
The Red Cubs saw their long reign end at the hands of the Mapua Red Robins last season, which snapped the run of seven consecutive titles for one of the top high school programs in the country.
While they are intent on regaining the title, San Beda coach JB Sison said it will still be a challenge for the Red Cubs to get back their supremacy in the NCAA, noting that Mapua is still one of the teams to beat this season following two preseason titles over the summer.
"Every year naman, Mapua is there dahil maganda 'yung sistema nila coach Randy (Alcantara) so talagang expect namin na every time Mapua ang kalaban, it's a tough match-up sa amin," said Sison in Tuesday's Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Golden Phoenix Hotel in Pasay City.
Sison also said La Salle Greenhills will also be a team to reckon with following an intense recruitment program that included last season's UAAP Mythical Five member Inand Fornillos from University of Santo Tomas and former San Beda high school cager Albert Bordeos.
"Grabe ang recruitment nila this year but I haven't seen them kung na-buo na 'yung chemistry nila. Pero roster-wise, medyo malakas sila," said Sison.
Sison also mentioned the McLaude Guadana-led Lyceum, San Sebastian, and Letran as a challenger for the title.
"Vastly-improved (Guadana) lalo na nung nasa Batang Gilas siya. Umangat ang confidence niya at nagma-mature na siya," said Sison.
Sison said the recruitment battle has gone intense in the NCAA over the past several years.
"First of all, recruitment-wise, maganda na kasi dati, sa Palarong Pambansa, lagi kaming nagko-compete sa Calabarzon because we are from Taytay. Dati doon kami nagre-recruit ng players. Ngayon, if we play there, makikita namin 'yung other coaches, nanonood na rin at rinerecruit na 'yung mga players na nakakalaban namin," said Sison.