Lion turns Bull


San Beda did something that hasn’t been done for a long time now and that is to win the NCAA crown unscratched. This is a fitting tribute for Ato Badolato, the San Beda Red Cubs’ coach who after years of training future Hall of Famers, will finally step down.

This will also be a fitting adieu for Borgie Hermida who’ll now be joining the Barako Bull Energy Boosters in the PBA.

So what should Borgie expect? 

First of all, he’ll be joining the Energy Boosters, a team that’s basically the league’s perennial whipping boys. Sure, the Boosters have Sunday Salvacion and the renewed realization of prowess on Mark Isip, Mark Andaya, Rob Wainwright, and Reed Juntilla but they lack the bite to be competitive. Ever since the franchise lost the core of Enrico Villanueva, Junthy Valenzuela, Cyrus Baguio, Lordy Tugade, Topex Robinson, Celino Cruz, Mick Pennisi, and Yeng Guiao, no one has been taking the Boosters seriously.

Another thing he’ll need to look at is the Boosters’ collection of point guards. Aris Dimaunahan was their chief PG last season while Paolo Hubalde has been with the team when Yeng Guiao was still coach. Marvin Cruz was a transferee from Coca-Cola. And then there’s Jim Viray, a product from San Sebastian who has yet to display his wares in the league that could play point even if that’s not his real position (he was waived midseason last season but managed to claw his way back to the majors). Heck, even Juntilla plays PG for the squad. It was the Juntilla-Salvacion tandem that claimed Barako Bull’s first win against the Meralco Bolts.

Finally, whatever skill he had during his collegiate years, he must take it to the next level. He will not be the focal point of the Barako Bull’s offense, just like when he was in San Beda. He needs to expect that he will be sparingly used or may not be even used at all during games and even throughout the conference. He shouldn’t expect superstar treatment. He is a mere second round pick. If Nonoy Baclao and Rabeh Al-Hussaini are getting “the treatment” from Yeng Guiao at Air21, he should expect the same with this franchise. Hermida needs to step up...

BIG.

However, one thing Hermida has that most rookies don’t have is that when he needs to perform, he can perform. During the 2010 Draft, he was one of three top San Beda players that had the chance to get drafted. Bam Gamalinda was a sure lock to be picked, especially with Meralco’s current band of San Beda players (Pong Escobal, Yousif Aljamal, Ogie Menor). Problem is Hermida plays the same post as Escobal while Menor plays JR Tecson’s spot so drafting them will be redundant. Besides, it is not as if the Bolts would use Escobal, Aljamal, and Menor prominently. This is a team with Mark Cardona and Asi Taulava... aside from the fact that they also have Nelbert Omolon, Beau Belga, Gabby Espinas, and Marlou Aquino.

As expected Gamalinda got the second round nod and Tecson was left undrafted. Hermida? He had a chance to get drafted but I don’t know who’ll pick him. But you know what, San Beda Coach and former PBA player Frankie Lim was right to tell Hermida to make an impact before the draft and it will be rewarded. Days before Hermida was drafted, he churned out a triple-double. This was the reason why the Boosters claimed him when they found out that he is still available. Among those left was Jai Reyes – a playalike spitfire from Ateneo that was taken by Powerade as the last pick of the draft. Hermida can excel in the PBA with his excellent playmaking once he improves his game. Jayjay Helterbrand, Jimmy Alapag, Wynne Arboleda, Olsen Racela, and Mike Cortez are slowly getting displaced by LA Tenorio, Alex Cabagnot, and Jonas Villanueva.

San Beda is one of the NCAA teams who players get respect when they climb to the PBA. San Sebastian, Letran, Mapua, and JRU are teams that bring in notable results although six UAAP teams score better draft chances than these NCAA squads. Hermida, once he gets dibs on the action would probably play the role TY Tang, Escobal, and Marcy Arellano are playing right now. It will take time for him to develop though, but nonetheless that’s enough for him to accept his role at Barako Bull and execute his duties as if his life depended on it.

Barako Bull needs a winner right now. He could the next LA Tenorio or the next Magnum Membrere. The Boosters are in need of a guard that will make knees tremble with the mere mention of his name.

Hermida could be that guy?

That remains to be seen.

Game over.  

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