ON THE HUNT for redemption, the San Beda Red Lions have taken an upturn in their preparations for the upcoming National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 99 this September in an “intensive two-week training camp” in Los Angeles, California.
After narrowly missing out on two consecutive finals appearances in Seasons 97 and 98, the Red Lions’ drive to reclaim their throne has been more ardent than ever.
Not shying away from competition in the lead-up to Season 99, the Lions’ participated in several pre-season tournaments, like the Philippine Basketball Association Developmental League (PBA D-League) Aspirants Cup, wherein they faced the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers in the finals but fell short.
In an interview with Red Lions’ team manager Coach Jude Roque, he says that they “joined many pre-season tournaments because we’re still a very young team and therefore we need to gain more experience in tough competitions. It’s a great way to see which areas we need to work on more.”
Boldly facing such encounters, the team was able to understand that the need for consistency and a stronger winning mentality were essential to their ambition. “When we face losses, we took the opportunity to refine our game plans, keep our team connected, communicate more effectively, and turn setbacks into valuable learning experiences,” said Red Lion forward Alex Visser.
With the Season 99 right around the corner, the Red Lions took a remarkable opportunity for a two-week intensive training camp in the United States. On August 9, Visser, alongside Yukien Andrada, Jacob Cortez, James Payosing, Clifford Jopia, Damie Cuntapay, JV Gallego, Collin Dimaculangan, Joshua Tagala, Jommel Puno, and the guidance of head coach Yuri Escueta, flew to Los Angeles, California.
The US training camp was no vacation as the team trained two to three times a day under the guidance and skills of renowned Coach Jordan Lawley. Coach Jude gave his praises to Lawley, saying, “It’s both fun and grind for us here but the team is loving the training with Jordan. He’s such a great trainer.””We’re very fortunate that Chairman Manny Pangilinan approved our trip. He has always been our biggest backer and he wants the team to reach its full potential,” added Coach Jude.
He also thanked College of Arts and Sciences’ (CAS) Dean Bryan Bustamante and Athletics Moderator, Prof. Diosdado Aler III with their diligence on schedules and arrangements. “Special shout out to the San Beda Alumni Association of Southern California for all its support. We felt really at home in the company of Bedans even when we’re far away from home,” Coach Jude expressed.
He emphasized further that “everything in this trip is about making the team better and preparing for Season 99. We hope the trip increases our chances of success this year.” With excitement, he adds he’s “excited to see the effects of this training camp when we get back to Manila and play some games. Hopefully, we learned a lot.”
As NCAA Season 99 awaits, the Mendiola-based squad aim to return as well-rounded players and a better unit.
(with Rizian Veniz Balleta)
Photo courtesy of the San Beda Red Lions