MANILA, Philippines – It was a dark Sunday for San Beda High School last January 20 when its three Red Cubs squads were all defeated in the divisional championships of the 30th SeaOil Metro Manila Basketball League in their homecourt at the San Beda Gym.
The Red Cubs, among the most successful high school programs in the country for the past two decades, has ruled the MMBL since its inception as a post-NCAA/UAAP tournament, organized by retired San Beda coach Ato Badolato in the 1980s.
San Beda sent three teams to the finals – the NCAA champion Team A, as well as Teams C and D. Their Team B fell in the semi-finals of Division Two the National University.
Despite the talent and firepower in the San Beda squads, they all lost in the divisional finals. The Red Cubs’ Team D were routed by National University, 80-58, while their Team C lost to Colegio de San Benildo, 77-64, in Division Three.
Hope Christian High School beat San Beda’s Team A, 93-87, in the Division One finals.
“This has never happened before, when all San Beda teams did not win a single championship trophy,” said Badolato. “This also says a lot about how the quality of coaching has gone up, as the other schools have better training and fundamentals.”
“The other side about this is that it also says something about the competition, where anyone has a chance to win the MMBL,” he added.
“It gives the other schools a bigger reason to participate because San Beda cannot dominate this competition.”
Badolato admitted that he foresaw that San Beda would come up empty.
“The coaching and the programs of schools have gotten so much better, and we are developing better basketball players. This is what the MMBL also stands for. It’s a great learning experience for all,” he said.
Britt Reroma, head coach of San Beda’s Team A, said it was tough for the Red Cubs to lose especially as they were playing in their home court.
“It’s not a good day for San Beda but we always bounce back,” he said.