Collegiate Champions League; NCAA Hopes to Make History (First of Two Parts)

Article excerpt

THE SAN Beda Red Lions and the Jose Rizal University will try to become only the second team from the National Collegiate Athletic Association to play for the title in the Collegiate Champions League.

The San Sebastian Stags made it to the last dance in 2004, losing only to the Far Eastern University Tamaraws. They made it to the main draw in contrasting fashions. The Red Lions won the title in their mother league and got the second seeding while the Heavy Bombers won only four in 14 games and needed the wildcard to make it.

San Beda College

With the early exit of the top seeded Ateneo Blue Eagles and the UAAP champions University of Santo Tomas Tigers, the Red Lions are the top favorites to win it all in the Collegiate Champions League this year.

In fact, they are the only team among the top four seeds to enter the Final Four.

Sam Ekwe is proving to be the biggest difference for the Lions. Without him, they struggled to beat a wildcard team in National University Bulldogs. With him, they led by as many as 27 points to eliminate last year's third placers and many-time CESAFI rulers University of Visayas Green Lancers.

It's not the addition he brings to their offense that makes Ekwe valuable. It's the subtraction he causes to their opponents.

The Rookie of the Year, Best Defensive Player and Most Valuable Player of the NCAA grabbed 23 rebounds and blocked four shots against the Green Lancers.Pong Escobal, Alex Angeles and Finals MVP Yousif Aljamal, meanwhile, take care of the offense for coach Koy Banal. …