THE more things change, the more they stay the same.
And even though San Beda's main men Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon last year are no longer in the Red Lions' den, the expectation never changes.
"If you're a Bedan, you're always looking forward na pumasok ng finals at manalo ng championship," said coach Boyet Fernandez., who has grown accustomed to the hefty expectations.
This year is no different, with San Beda gunning for the four-peat.
"We've been in the finals for 13 years and won 11 championships, so sanay na ang mga tiga-San Beda na manalo," the affable mentor said.
That winning culture is what's expected of the new-look Red Lions, which now has the young guard combo of James Canlas and Evan Nelle at the forefront.
The backcourt tandem has been sensational in the summer tournaments, including their unbeaten run to the championship in the 2019 Filoil Flying V Preseason Ciup.
"They're still young, but with our games in the preseason, I'm happy to say na napabilis talaga namin yung maturity nila," said Fernandez of the Canlas-Nelle combo.
But it won't be just the duo, with Cameroonian big man Donald Tankoua still manning the paint, as well as equal responsibilities vested on veterans Calvin Oftana, Clint Doliguez and team captain AC Soberano.
Fernandez, however, knows that preseason success will remain hollow until the time the Red Lions prove that they're ready to blow the clouds of Bolick and Mocon hovering over their heads.
"Yun pa rin naman yung challenge eh, on how these players will fill the shoes Robert and Javee left," he said. "We have to sustain that winning culture. Whether it be an exhibition game, practice game, or NCAA game, we will go and try to win that because yun ang expected from us. We don’t want to fail the school."
And when that time comes, title No. 23 for San Beda may just be in the bag.