San Beda cast a dark shadow over distant past as it beat Ateneo 70-61 at the opening day of the 2008 Filoil Flying Invitational Cup Sunday afternoon at the PhilSports Arena.
It was a sweet victory for the Red Lions, finally beating the Blue Eagles after consecutive unsuccessful attempts. Team San Beda ran like a well oiled machine, after a slow start. The Blue team surged to a 8-0 start. As play ensued, the Red Lions regained lost ground and never looked back.
Sam Ekwe, healing the wounds from a heartwrenching visit in Jakarta, led the charge with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Pong Escobal, the spirited leader of the team, displayed his late game heroics, including a clutch three point basket in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter. He finished with 14 points as well. Ogie Menor was his usual daredevil self with cliffhanger drives to the hoop and occasional long range bombs to finish with 12 points. Borgie Hermida assumed the role of court general, running wily against the guards of the blue side, plucking several rebounds to boot and finishing with 11 points. JR “Baby Shaq” Taganas was Sunday’s surprise package of Coach Frankie Lim, as he filled the void left by now Talk n Text Phone Pal Yousif Aljamal. The San Beda Awesome Five just kept Ateneo guessing, leaving them shackled as the final buzzer sounded.
Kevin Emeka Udo did not figure much in his first outing as a Red Lion, dishing 3 quick fouls early in the first quarter. Prized rookie Elvin Jake Pascual came off the bench, with several flashes of brilliance that made the San Beda faithful smile from ear to ear.
It was a well executed game plan for the Red Lions. Well, for what it’s worth, shooting for the Blue Eagles went terribly sour in the second half. Main gunner Chris Tiu, despite his dismal shooting off the perimeter on to the rainbow area, managed to chalk up 17 markers. Not bad for an off night! Blue chip rookies Nico Salva, Ryan Buenafe and Justin Chua were used sparingly during the game, not enough for them to strut their stuff on court, in front of prying eyes of basketball junkies.
Perhaps the happiest of all during the opening day of Filoil was Coach Ato Badolato, the illustrious mentor of the San Beda Red Cubs as scores of his proteges were showcased during last Sunday’s event. Taganas, Hermida, Menor, Villanueva, Marcelo, Lanete for the Red Lions. Baldos, Escueta and Salva for the Blue Eagles. Casio and Revilla for the Green Archers. A long list of Cubs scattered around all four corners of college basketball. A testament of the legend that is Badolato.
The win by the Red Lions really made my day. Not even my slow motion, blurry web camera could dampen my spirit. From the scratchy images on my screen, I saw the new face of San Beda basketball. Less of the individualistic display of talent but more of cohesive and methodical team play. This makes me all excited for their next games, and heck, for the NCAA!
GO SAN BEDA FIGHT!