Red Lions downplay tag as favorites ahead of NCAA Season 91 opener
The nine other teams again try to topple San Beda, which is seeking a sixth straight NCAA seniors title. Jerome Ascano

KEY players from last year’s squad are still with the team and despite a coaching change, San Beda is still seen as the team to beat for NCAA Season 91.

Having played against the Lions in the finals, the Arellano Chiefs know they need to play a near-perfect game to have a chance.

“There are teams that are capable of beating San Beda. Pero hindi puwedeng good game lang. Dapat very, very good game,” Arellano coach Jerry Codinera said during the NCAA Season 91 press launch at the MOA Arena.

Lyceum coach Topex Robinson even admits some teams will also need some luck to score a win against the powerhouse San Beda squad seeking a sixth straight title.

“For Lyceum, we just have to deal with what we can control. Baka matsambahan mo but at the same time, you want to bring your best.”

New Lions coach Jamike Jarin downplayed the other coaches’ assessment, saying the Red Lions led by Baser Amer and Ola Adeeogun will still have to fight their way to the crown.

“Every minute is going to be a war,” said Jarin.

“The nine coaches will also be working very hard each game so anything is possible,” he added, even citing a video presentation provided by returning TV partner ABS-CBN Sports.

“Before the press con started, there was a video being shown na San Beda, pa-dribble dribble lang but ’yung Lyceum and Perpetual, (they were) dunking on everybody. Sa video pa lang, napakalakas ng mga players nila.”

“This is not a San Beda video, this is the NCAA,” said Jarin, whose team opens campaign of Season 91 against Mapua at 2 p.m.

In the second game at 4 p.m., Arellano takes on another top favorite in Jose Rizal University, which recently won a preseason tournament as they prepared for the NCAA cage wars.

NCAA policy board chairman Reynaldo Vea said the 91st season will usher in the league’s build-up for the centennial celebration of the 10-year partnership with ABS-CBN Sports.

“Everything will be a run up to the centennial celebration come 2025. With our media partner, our frame of mind is a 10-year period,” Vea said.

Watch coach Jamike talk about his expectations for the start of Season 91

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