BUSY and all, former San Beda players made the time to hop out of their respective dens for their annual Christmas get-together.
They couldn't ditch this once-a-year gathering among Red Lions of old which always is the perfect time for catching up and reminiscing the proud team's past NCAA conquests.
San Beda has been the dominant team in NCAA basketball for a little over a decade now. And the Red Lions have proven recently why they are still on top of the country’s oldest collegiate league, re-asserting their might by denying Lyceum a perfect season and winning the crown via sweep.
It was the 2010 San Beda team that last pulled off such feat after beating San Sebastian's lethal "Pinatubo Trio" of Calvin Abueva, Ian Sangalang and Ronald Pascual in a series that had all the trappings of a classic.
Incidentally, most of those present in the party held by team manager Mike Advani were part of that decorated batch. Bringing up the topic was inevitable.
"Actually napag-usapan namin yung record. Yung 18-0 ng Lyceum tied our record," former guard Borgie Hermida told SPIN.ph. "Kaya lang yung samin, sabi nga nila, is perfect season kasi buong season wala kaming talo (including championship series)."
In Game Two of this year's NCAA finale, Jake Pascual watched from the sidelines of the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Pascual, now part of an Alaska frontline featuring among others, Abueva, was among the throngs of supporters wearing red and praying for the series to end that day. He was praying for two things: San Beda to retain the title as well as the perfect season record.
God heeded his prayers.
When confetti fell on the Red Lions moments later, he couldn't feel more relieved knowing his batch remains one of the more special San Beda squads to date.
"Masaya ako para sa 2010 team namin kasi kami pa rin may hawak ng record na perfect season," he said.
Hermida couldn't agree more, but added that this triumph was sweeter because it was the first time in 12 years San Beda was unseated from the top spot after the double-round eliminations.
That's why the Cignal HD team manager is tipping his hat off to the CJ Perez-led Pirates, who he said are one of the best teams in the league the ast decade.
Well, next to the Stags team of Abueva and Co.
"Kung ako ang tatanungin, it is sweeter kasi first time in 12 years mawala sa top spot ang San Beda so for them to beat Lyceum, hindi basta basta, talagang nagkaroon ng threat sa San Beda," he said.
"Magagaling at mauutak ang players and they played as a team. Sa lahat ng nakalaban ng San Beda sa finals, I think Lyceum is one of the strongest - maybe next to San Sebastian."
Both San Beda alumni know it is more likely that a team will duplicate their feat in the coming NCAA seasons. Whether it's another San Beda team or not, Pascual hopes someday someone will get a taste of the glory of a perfect season.
"Wini-wish ko na sana ma-break para naman maranasan din ng iba yung naranasan namin," he said.
"Kaso mukang abutin pa ng five to 10 years ulit yan para ma-break," he was quick to add in jest.
As for which team will share their record, they are saving the conversation for next year's get-together.