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    NCAA yearender: Letran-San Beda court rivalry spills into offseason recruitment

    Dec 27, 2020

    TRUTH be told, Letran's championship win in NCAA Season 95 was a breath of fresh air for those used to seeing San Beda's dynasty.

    What many didn't expect, though, is that change also signalled a potential foundation of a new dynasty.

    The extended offseason only affirmed that, with Letran and San Beda going toe-to-toe with their recruits as the NCAA has once again looked like a two-team horserace.

    That statement, however, isn't meant to discount the efforts of the rest of the field as the other eight teams have also made moves to rejig their rosters.

    With the collegiate season still on hold, Spin.ph felt that it's just right that we take a look on how things stand so that we can get a glimpse of what's to come when the games hopefully return in 2021.

    Letran Knights


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    Additions: Rhenz Abando, Ira Bataller, Dilcer Gaviola, Rafael Go, Yuki Kawamura, Jimly Lantaya, Jeff Mailim, Lloyd Oliva, Jeremiah Pangalangan, Brent Paraiso.

    The rich got richer as Letran, though lost key guys in Jerrick Balanza, Bonbon Batiller, and Larry Muyang, welcomed Rhenz Abando, Brent Paraiso, and Ira Bataller to its fort in Muralla.

    Finals MVP Fran Yu, though, will still be the focal point of the attack for coach Bonnie Tan as the Knights come to the next season not only aspiring for a championship but are favored to claim back-to-back crowns -- especially in a season where it serves as the hosts.

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    San Beda Red Lions


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    Additions: Rhayyan Amsali, Yukien Andrada, JV Gallego, Brendon Ocampo, Ralph Penuela, Miguel Ratuiste, Justine Sanchez, Dan Villejo, Tony Ynot.

    Tough was this past offseason for San Beda as it not only lost Donald Tankoua and Evan Nelle, but also questions loom if Season MVP Calvin Oftana will be back for one final run.

    Coach Boyet Fernandez will now have to lean on James Canlas as the Red Lions approach the season hoping that Red Cub stars Rhayyan Amsali, Yukien Andrada, Justine Sanchez, and Tony Ynot live up to their hype and maintain the Mendiola squad's position as the league's perennial contenders.

    Lyceum Pirates


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    Additions: Coach Jeff Perlas, Carlo Abadeza, Kenneth Alas, Genesis Aviles, Alvin Baetiong, John Barba, Matt Bravo, Vincent Cunanan, Mac Guadana, Junmark Silvarez.

    It will be an almost new-look Lyceum team when the NCAA rolls, with coach Jeff Perlas taking the lead from now-Phoenix Super LPG coach Topex Robinson.

    Gone are the main faces which helped the Pirates make it to the Finals twice, which means big pressure will be vested on holdovers Renzo Navarro and Jayson David, as well as incoming bluechip rookies Mac Guadana and John Barba, to keep the Pirates in the thick of the race this coming season.

    San Sebastian Golden Stags

    Additions: Ralph Gabat, Reggz Gabat, Tristan Felebrico, Jacob Shanoda, Jeth Zabala.

    No one said replacing Allyn Bulanadi will be an easy job, and San Sebastian certainly have to work double time to make up for the loss of last season's top scorer.

    With that said, coach Egay Macaraya will have to be resigned to the fact that the Golden Stags can only go as far as to where RK Ilagan can take them, which isn't really a bad prospect considering the Tondo gunner's penchant to light on fire.

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    St. Benilde Blazers


    Additions: AJ Benson, Miggy Corteza, JC Cullar, Taine Davis, Patrick Dimayuga, Will Gozum, Macoy Marcos, Jethro Publico, Teshi Tsuotoma.

    Justin Gutang is back for one last go-round and it's just the kind of news St. Benilde badly needs in its quest to finally end its near-two-decade Final Four drought.

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    Will Gozum and Macoy Marcos will certainly help down low, giving coach TY Tang and the Blazers the tireless forwards they need for their obvious lack of ceiling -- but whether they're the missing pieces for the Taft side's dream to make it to the semis remain as a big fat question mark.

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    Mapua Cardinals

    Additions: Jun Asuncion, Marlon Navarro, Ivan Santos, Jopet Soriano.

    It took time for the boys of coach Randy Alcantara to warm up last season, but the young Mapua side certainly got the exposure it needed, as seen it its second round winning stretch.

    Though losing Cyril Gonzales hurts, the Cardinals remain formidable with the tandem of Warren Bonifacio and Christian Bunag upfront and Laurenz Victoria calling the shots on the point, making this youthful side a dangerous foe any given day.

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    Perpetual Altas

    Additions: Coach Myk Saguiguit, Edzel Galoy.

    Perpetual doubles down on its youth revolution with Junior Altas coach Myk Saguiguit being installed to the seniors team post.

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    Without Ben Adamos to man the paint, the Altas will need to find gems to contend again this coming season, something that the Las Pinas side got with the solid outings from Tonton Peralta, Kim Aurin, and Jielo Razon last year.

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    JRU Heavy Bombers

    Additions: EJ Agbong, Airness Alao, Jason Celis.

    Jose Rizal University had its growing pains last season, but coach Louie Gonzalez certainly let his young guys gain the much-needed exposure that will come in handy in the long run.

    John Amores, Agem Miranda, and JL delos Santos are expected to take bigger roles for the Heavy Bombers this season -- responsibilities which aren't only tasked on them but are expected to embrace with open arms.

    EAC Generals

    Additions: Jomar Amador, Bryeo Bunyi, Art Cosa, Nat Cosejo, Adam Doria, Andrey Doria, Allen Liwag, Erlan Umpad.

    The process continues for Emilio Aguinaldo College, one that coach Oliver Bunyi perfectly understands.

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    That job, however, gets tougher with five of his key players led by Jethro Mendoza already graduating, but the Generals did have pieces to build on in JP Maguliano and Marwin Taywan as they look ahead to the next season.

    Arellano Chiefs


    Additions: Maui Cruz, Rich Guinitaran, JM Lagumen, Jordan Sta. Ana, Christian Uri.

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    Arellano keeping Justin Arana for the next season is already a big win for coach Cholo Martin, giving him a reliable center to bank on down low.

    Fortunately for the Chiefs, Jordan Sta. Ana comes in to replace the spot left by Kent Salado as the Recto squad aim for better days once the NCAA resumes.

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