SAN Beda coach JB Sison said the absence of UAAP top guns Ateneo and National University will not in any way make their title defense easier in the Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship (PSSBC) Jumbo Plastic Linoleum Cup starting on Saturday.
“Di ko pa nakikita kung sino sino ang mga players so mahirap tantsahin," said Sison, who steered the team to a record seventh straight NCAA championship and 22nd overall recently.
Sison, however, sees a spirited chase for the bragging rights as the country’s premier high school team even without Ateneo and NU, knowing full well that other teams have the necessary tools to stop them.
“We'll try (to defend it) pero mahihirapan kami,” he added.
League Commissioner Ato Badolato understands Sison’s apprehension.
“Makikita niyo na competitive na talaga kasi ang liga namin. Sa tatlong taon, tatlong champions din. Cream of the crop ang liga na to, the best teams from NCR," said Badolato, the architect behind San Beda high school team’s early success.
Teams with national players, according to league chairman and Jumbo Plastic Linoleum owner Jimmy dela Cruz, are the stumbling blocks in San Beda’s back-to-back bid in the tournament also sponsored by Molten, Dickies Underwear, MEC Networks, Ironcon Builders, Hapee Toothpaste, Blackwater Sports, Freego and Rain or Shine.
Batang Gilas star Harvey Pagsanjan will lead Hope Christian High School while his teammates in the national pool in Tyler Tio and Jonas Tibayan will also be strutting their wares for Xavier and Chiang Kai Shek College, respectively.
UAAP star Aljun Melecio will banner La Salle Zobel.
Led by its prolific scoring center in Kenneth Villapando, Manila Patriotic School is out to turn heads.
Games will be shown on AksyonTV.