Despite not being able to defend their PBA D-League championship, the San Beda College Red Lions will still get a chance to prepare early for their NCAA title defense.
While the majority of the NCAA teams duke it out in the PBA D-League, the defending, back-to-back champions are set to be the Philippine representatives for the 2018 Dubai International Basketball Tournament. The tournament takes place at the Al Ahli Sporting Club in the UAE from January 19-26.
“We got this rare invitation to join this prestigious tournament, and represent the country against the top teams in West Asia,” said Red Lions team manager Jude Roque. “It’s a great opportunity to learn from the tough competition. At the same time, it’s an honor to play in front of our fellow Filipinos in Dubai.”
The tournament won’t be a breeze for the Red Lions as the elite club teams from West Asia converge in the 29th edition of the tournament.
Joining San Beda are the UAE’s National Team; Egyptian clubs Al Ahly and Zamalek; Lebanese clubs Al-Riyadi, Homentmen, and Al-Hikma; AS Sale from Morocco; ES Radès from Tunisia; and Al-Nasr from Libya.
San Beda’s lineup will be headlined by 23 for 2023 Gilas cadets Robert Bolick, Javee Mocon, and Kemark Carino. Joining them are Donald Tankoua, Arnaud Noah, AC Soberano, Clint Doliguez, Joe Presbitero, Franz Abuda, Calvin Oftana, Jeramer Cabanag, JB Bahio, Benedict Adamos, and Radge Tongco. Six-foot-nine Nigerian student-athlete Eugene Toba will be part of San Beda’s A-Team as well as Davon Potts has moved on to the pro ranks.
Boyet Fernandez will call the shots from the sidelines, together with Gino Manuel. The team’s staff includes liaison officer Joey de Jesus, stats man Benjie Berro, and and physical therapist Mike Sunga.
“Our young players will surely gain from this experience. We expect to come back home as a better team,” added Roque.
This would not have been possible without the help of UAE-based water producing company Masafi.
Last year, Mighty Sports-Philippines represented the country in the annual tourney. The club team went 1-5 in the tournament.