From the outside, it seems that San Beda is in turmoil.
Just a few days ago, lead point guard and Red Cubs product Evan Nelle left the den to transfer to La Salle. Also leaving San Beda was Ain Obenza, a Red Cub whom they were grooming as the back up to Nelle; he moved to Arellano.
Rumors would then circulate that long-time head coach Boyet Fernandez will be relieved from his post after a “disappointing” Season 95 campaign.
Well, for Red Lions team manager Jude Roque, all of these are just part of the cycle — especially with San Beda’s dominion over the NCAA ending just a few months ago at the hands of bitter rival Letran.
First off, Roque cleared the air between San Beda and Nelle, saying that there are no burned bridges between the two camps.
“Truly sad about his departure. I love that kid and he knows it.
“I’ve known his dad since we were in high school,” said Roque about Nelle’s stepdad Edsel Vergeire, who is also the cousin of Green Archers head coach Derrick Pumaren. “But we have to respect their decision and wish them well.
“Evan has proven [himself] to be the best playmaker in the NCAA last year. Now, he has the chance to prove the same in the UAAP next year. He was the main reason we swept the elims. He made Calvin [Oftana], Donald [Tankoua], James [Canlas], Clint [Doliguez], and the rest of our team look good on the floor,” he continued.
Roque also quashed the rumors that there is an internal squabble inside San Beda. According to him, reigning MVP Oftana and Mythical Five member Canlas have guaranteed they are not leaving.
Besides the two, Roque feels excited with the crop of rookies coming in — including San Beda High standouts Rhayyan Amsali and Tony Ynot, as well as transferee Ralph Penuela.
With Fernandez still steering the wheel, the San Beda lifer is confident it will be smooth sailing for San Beda as they prepare for Season 96.
“There are rumors about having internal problems in the team. I can assure the community there is none.
“Calvin, now the new team captain, has vowed to lead our redemption campaign. James is more determined to lead us too, and so is co-captain Franz Abuda,” said Roque.
“We are also excited about the new players joining us, like veteran guard Ralph Penuela, who would’ve played last year if not for academic woes. He should make an immediate impact for us. And we got the commitment of high school standouts Rhayyan Amsali and Winston Ynot. We’re hoping the other Cubs like Yukien Andrada and Justine Sanchez will follow, plus a few more,” he continued.
“Coach Boyet is still the workhorse that he is, who knows how to win, without a doubt.”
Every time San Beda’s reign seemed to end, it only comes back stronger.
When San Sebastian toppled San Beda in Season 85, the Red Lions bounced back with an 18-0 sweep a year later.
In Season 91, Letran ended San Beda’s six-peat bid. A year later, the Red Lions would be on top once again and reign for the next three years.
Season 96 will be no different, as the Red Lions look to regain their throne — or die trying.
“We have overcome trials in the past and still came out as winners. Players come and go, coaches come and go, but the program has remained strong and steady; and will remain that way, for as long as we have the support of the community.”