San Beda and San Sebastian have fought many great battles in the NCAA that are now part of basketball lore.
The two teams try to add a new chapter to their storied rivalry on Saturday when they dispute the title in the 2nd Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship (PSSBC) at the SGS gym in Quezon City.
More than the bragging rights as the country’s top juniors team, a lot will be at stake when they clash at 2:15 p.m. in a game that will be shown live on GMA TV News.
“Both teams are on a mission with San Beda out to protect its winning legacy while San Sebastian is seeking redemption. So with that, we expect another battle royale today. It’s going to be a slam-bang affair,” said Eduard Tio, one of the league’s shareholders.
The Red Cubs and the Staglets forged a one-game face-off for the title after pulling off contrasting semis wins in the tournament sponsored by Hapee Toothpaste, Ever Bilena, MEC Computer, Wrangler, Jumbo Plastic Linoleum, Ironcon Builders, Welcoat Paints, Dickies Underwear, Davies Paint and Spray & Seal Tire Sealant and Rain or Shine.
The Staglets exacted sweet revenge over last year’s champion Hope Christian High School after hacking out a 110-107 overtime win while the Red Cubs – the five-time defending champions in the NCAA, outlasted the Mapua Red Robins in a rugged match, 83-63.
San Beda holds a 2-0 advantage over San Sebastian in their NCAA duel this year but the Red Cubs will have their hands full this time against the Stags who are out to avenge their NCAA finals defeat also last year.
“They got their revenge over Hope Christian so now they want another against San Beda this time. I’m sure will be their motivation,” added the amiable Tio.
The absence of Arvin Tolentino is likely to create a void in the middle for San Beda, but coach JB Sison remains confident his other key players like Javee Mocon, John Ryan Gumtang, Joshua Caracut, Ranbill Tongo and Franz Abuda are ready to step up and plug the hole.
Sison’s main concern though is how to limit the production of the sweet-shooting Ryan Paule Costelo who exploded for 38 points in their win over Hope Christian.
Costelo was so sharp and deadly he made all but one of his 11 field goals, including six from the three-point zone.
Out to provide Costelo the needed help are Michael Calisaan, Alfren Gayosa, Jasper Magno and Lorenzo Fernando Navarro.