INJURIES and player transfers have bugged the defending champion San Beda Red Lions after they won Season 93 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball crown.
And so the Red Lions are getting ready for a tough season ahead of them.
SBC coach Boyet Fernandez said this with less than a month before the opening games begin on July 7 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Every championship ay mahirap. Every year is a different thing for us. Right now, we’re battling some injuries and some issues about players transferring,” said Fernandez.
For one, point guard Robert Bolick is recovering from a knee injury and toughening up by going to the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center at the Ateneo de Manila campus in Katipunan, Quezon City regularly to do some strength and conditioning activity.
The 6’1” Bolick averaged 12.54 points and 6.3 rebounds last season.
The Red Lions lost 6’6” big man Benedict Adamos, who transferred to the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA to play and pursue a course in maritime studies. Davon Potts also graduated.
Despite the setbacks and a player leaving, the Red Lions had the good fortune of being able to work on the cohesiveness of the team when they went to Fort Lauderdale, Florida last month for a two-week camp.
The Red Lions had an opportunity to train with Gannon Baker, regarded as one of the premier basketball skills’ trainers in the world.
The team is now beefing up its big man position with the presence of 6’6” slotman Damie Cuntapay, who could give the Red Lions a taller frontline.
Cuntapay, who averaged 6.3 points and 6.5 rebounds during his time with San Sebastian Staglets, is among the latest newbies vying for slots in Team A. He was part of a SSC team that made it to the Final Four of the NCAA junior division for the first time in years.
Also trying to make the team is Red Cubs’ standout and point guard Evan Nelle, who is one of two members of the junior squad that’s committed to stay put and remain for the school.
Nelle is expected to reinforce Bolick and become his replacement when the latter graduates at the end of the season.
Cuntapay, along with forward Peter Alfaro, who came from the Red Cubs with Nelle, was given the chance to join the Red Lions in their training camp.