By Jerome Lagunzad
(The Arena, San Juan City)
5:30 p.m. – San Beda vs Lyceum
Reigning NCAA titlist San Beda will try to reassert its dominance over a familiar foe in Lyceum even without ace guard Robert Bolick as they go at it anew today for the 2018 Philippine Collegiate Champions League title at The Arena in San Juan City.
The 5-foot-11 Bolick, still dealing with a meniscus tear on his right knee, won’t suit up in the much-awaited 5 p.m. encounter, leaving the Red Lions with a big shoe to fill against a Pirates side aching to gain some measure of revenge.
But San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez remains confident, knowing the Red Lions can still get the job done, much like what they did in a thrilling 57-52 victory over defending UAAP champion Ateneo Blue Eagles in the semifinals last Tuesday.
“We will be ready,” he said, sounding optimistic enough of San Beda’s chances to reclaim a third league crown since ruling the 2014 edition and being named as co-champions alongside Far Eastern University the following year.
Out to foil them are the Pirates, who should come in with enough motivation after the Red Lions turned what started as a dream title run into a complete nightmare by sweeping them in last year’s NCAA finals.
But Lyceum coach Topex Robinson would rather see his wards play true to their full potential which they have shown in an 82-69 win over fellow NCAA member San Sebastian in the other semifinal pairing.
Without Bolick, who’s been considered as the team’s heart and soul, Fernandez is expecting more from the likes of do-it-all forward Javee Mocon, Cameroon center Donald Tankoua, wingman Clint Doliguez and Jomari Presbitero.
Standing in their way are Pirates star CJ Perez, the reigning NCAA league MVP, and Cameroon big man Mike Nzeusseu together with the touted Marcelino twins – Jaycee and Jayvee – and reliable forward MJ Ayaay.