ROBERT Bolick and CJ Perez may have taken their acts to the PBA, but both still believe that their respective squads will be able to weather their graduation to retain their position as the top contenders this NCAA Season 95.
"Maganda ang pinakita nila nung preseason kaya sana ituloy-tuloy nila yung championship pedigree ng San Beda," said Bolick.
Perez chimed in saying: "Nakita ko ang laro nila at same pa rin naman. Hindi naman nagbabago yung sistema ni coach Topex kaya sana makuha na nila yung championship."
San Beda and Lyceum have fought in the championship for two consecutive years, with both times the Red Lions coming out on top over the Pirates.
This year, however, is different, with Bolick and Perez being the biggest subtractions to their respective teams.
Still, both PBA rookies, who were the latest Gilas Pilipinas callups, maintained their trust on those they left behind.
"Nakasama namin sila ng matagal at syempre, may naitulong naman kami sa kanila. So ngayon, time naman nila para mag tulong naman dun sa mga bata. Kailangan na nilang mag-step up," said Bolick, expressing his confidence on the leadership of veterans like AC Soberano, Calvin Oftana, and Cameroonian big man Donald Tankoua.
The NorthPort neophyte also reminded the Red Lions of the high bar expected of the players in San Beda, noting that every year, winning the championship isn't just a goal in Mendiola, but rather, an expectation.
"Napakasarap sa feeling pag alam mong yung tinatrabaho mo, nagbubunga. So hopefully they’ll just work hard, stay humble, play as a team, and play to win a championship. Pag ginawa nila yun, may legacy na sila na maiiwan sa San Beda," Bolick said.
For Perez' part, he sees Lyceum as a more talented teams with the addition of Jayson David and Renzo Navarro to the trio of Mike Nzeusseu and twins Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino.
"Yung team nila ngayon sobrang talented," said the Columbian rookie, who emphasized the importance of chemistry in the Pirates' tried-and-tested system. "Kailangan lang nila yung chemistry pa. Hindi naman nawala yung winning culture na binuild namin at alam ko na doon sila mabubuhay. Basta kailangan mag-stick lang sila sa sistema."
The only thing Perez hopes will be different this year, though, will be the outcome in the end as Lyceum seeks to claim its first NCAA title.
"Kailangan nila i-push yung sarili nila. May killer instinct kami, pero bitin pa noon. So ngayon, sana hindi na mabitin," he said.