WITH a returning coach, a deep roster and a rejuvenated Robert Bolick, San Beda shoots for nothing less than back-to-back titles in the NCAA Season 93 men's basketball tournament starting on July 8 at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
Boyet Fernandez, back at the helm after steering the Lions to back-to-back NCAA championships in 2013 and 2014, and the seasoned Bolick-headed Red Lions brought down reigning UAAP champion La Salle to top the Premier Cup and emerge the heavy favorite to repeat as in the NCAA.
Fernandez, who replaced now National University coach Jamike Jarin, didn't miss a beat on his return as he masterminded San Beda's title reign while Bolick has embraced the leadership role by coming through with one clutch effort after another.
And Fernandez and Bolick know the pressure mounts after their recent triumph.
"Our goal is to keep that NCAA trophy at San Beda and we expect it to be tougher after our recent victory," said Fernandez.
"We're proud of what we've accomplished in the preseason. But this doesn't mean it's going to be easy come NCAA after this. It will not, because we expect teams to prepare for us more," said Bolick.
San Beda has kept the core of the team that swept Arellano University in the finals last season, losing only former captain Dan Sara.
Jayvee Mocon, Davon Potts, Jose Presbitero, Ben Adamos and Radge Tongco were the holdovers from last year.
So deep are the Lions that Fernandez will have the dilemma of choosing who among French Arnaud Noah, Nigerian Eugene Toba and Cameroonian Donald Tankoua to field this coming season.
Apart from the veterans, San Beda will parade a pair of talented transferees from Ateneo in burly guard Clint Doliguez and 6-8 Kenmark Carino.
Doliguez and Carino played important roles in San Beda's strong pre-season performances.
"They are our energy guys and we expect them to be an integral part of our campaign," said Fernandez of the two.