There was one goal for Arellano University and San Beda College entering the 92nd season of the land’s oldest collegiate league: to win a championship. With one game down, San Beda is looking to close out its business on Tuesday (October 11), while Arellano looks to regain equal footing and force a rubber match in Game 2, which will be aired live on ABS-CBN Sports + Action (S+A) and ABS-CBN S+A HD starting 4pm.
It’s a tale of two teams – one on the rise, and the other, a powerhouse in NCAA for decades. The Arellano Chiefs, who got this season’s first Finals ticket, have come a long way since being a probationary member of the NCAA, sealing its second trip to the Finals at the expense of the Mapua Cardinals. Meanwhile, the Red Lions, which beat Arellano in 2014 for the crown, nailed their 11th straight Finals appearance after outplaying the UPHSD Altas last Tuesday (October 4).
Last season, the Lions almost achieved a sixth-straight diadem in NCAA in Coach Jamike Jarin’s first year, but got sidetracked by Letran’s furious assault. Arellano, meanwhile, missed the semifinals despite a breakout season for its soft-spoken floor general Jalalon. This season, the Cagayan De Oro native and former Gilas player has emerged as a big star not only in the campus, but in the league, even being touted as college basketball’s best player bar none.
Jalalon will have to lead his team against a squad that continues to fight and show might despite many setbacks, including an early injury to a key cog in the team. Behind the fireworks of Davon Potts, the steady guidance of Dan Sara, the emergence of Ben Adamos and rookie-transferee Robert Bolick, and Javee Mocon’s continued maturation into both forward spots, the Red Lions were able to fend off every challenge to get back to the Finals and continued their domination of the Chiefs, which have not won against them this year.
Arellano needs to win Game 2 to keep its hopes to win its first championship alive. Entering the NCAA back in Season 85, the Chiefs immediately made an impact with a respectable fifth place finish. However, the team finished outside of the Final Four in the next four seasons, until Season 90, when it barged into the Final Four and the Finals with then new coach Jerry Codiñera. The inspired quintet of Jio Jalalon, John Pinto, Prince Caperal, Keith Agovida, and Dioncee Holts, however, found the Big Red Machine too much to handle, as they let San Beda grab its fifth straight title.
As the two forces continue their battle for basketball supremacy on Tuesday (October 11), the other student-athletes from their schools are also ready and are already showing their fighting spirit. The Mendiola-based athletic program has 16 general championships under its belt, showing excellence beyond basketball. Arellano, meanwhile, has also become a juggernaut in other disciplines like football, chess, lawn tennis, badminton, and volleyball, where it has also earned several first place finishes. Both institutions are also performing well in the most important aspect – education, as both San Beda College and Arellano University are known for their successful law programs, apart from other courses.
Get to know more about the two schools and its different teams this NCAA Season 92. Don’t miss the Men’s Basketball Tournament Finals’ Game 2, Tuesday (October 11) between the Arellano Chiefs and San Beda at 4pm on S+A and S+A HD or via livestreaming on sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/ncaa, iwantv.com.ph and tfc.tv. Will the Chiefs’ force a rubber match for a shot at their first-ever title in the basketball tourney or will the Red Lions’ thirst for redemption enough for them to close the business at hand? For more information, follow ABS-CBN Sports on their Facebook and Twitter (@abscbnsports) accounts or visit sports.abs-cbn.com.