San Beda skipper Dan Sara eager to win NCAA title for coach Jamike Jarin

Getting the nod to be San Beda’s team captain in the 92nd NCAA seniors basketball tourney is already one big responsibility for graduating guard Dan Sara.

Helping to lead a determined Red Lions side back to the top as this year’s host makes that even more daunting.

But the 5-foot-9 Sara isn’t backing down from the tough challenge, confident he and the rest of San Beda teammates can make up for lost ground after seeing their ‘five-peat’ reign end in stunning fashion at the hands of arch-rival Letran last year.

“Matindi talaga ang pressure sa totoo lang. But I always keep in my mind that when you can overcome the pressure, you will succeed,” he told FOX Sports during a luncheon hosted by San Beda on Monday afternoon.

After playing as a back-up to starting playmaker Baser Amer, one of the six Red Lions who have graduated, last year, Sara is in for a bigger—and more challenging—role this time, with San Beda making him the primary source of leadership and stability on his fourth and final year.

“Sa akin, may pressure talaga. Nagsimula ako sa third group tapos pataas na nang pataas.
Tapos ngayon final year, at isa pa ako sa mga inaasahan ng team bigger responsibility sa akin kasi captain ball ako kaya nakaka-pressure rin talaga,” he said.

Being this season’s host brings another kind of challenge.

“Lahat ng team gusto mag-champion, pero mas grabe ‘yung kagustuhan mag-champion lalo kung host pa kayo. All-out kasi ang magiging suporta ng mga fans at ng buong San Beda community sa team ngayon,” noted Sara.

A proud native of Cagayan de Oro City, Sara said he’s eager to lead the Red Lions to a familiar destination not just for himself to go out with a bang but for second-year San Beda coach Jamike Jarin too.

“This year, this season, para sa akin, final year ko pero para ito kay coach Jamike. Gusto ko maalala niya ako na naging team captain niya tapos champion,” he said.

“Sobrang nakakataba ng puso na ginawa niya akong team captain. Sobrang happy lang ako kasi ‘yung tiwala ni coach Jamike from the start, andun na simula ng mag-coach siya dito kahit bago lang ako sa kanya. Sobra niya akong pinu-push hard. Sa totoo lang, sobrang pagalit nararanasan ko sa kanya minsan kasi gusto niya lang talaga ako mag-improve,” Sara shared.

A former Green Archer of La Salle who played for two years in the UAAP before transferring to San Beda in 2012, Sara said the Red Lions’ collective hunger will be their ultimate motivation.

“Gutom at gigil rin kami ngayon ibalik ang korona sa Mendiola,” said the former Red Cub, who had game-averages of 7.79 points, 4.29 assists, 2.71 rebounds, 1.79 steals in 14 games last year. – By Jerome Lagunzad

Follow this writer on Twitter: @JLFoxSports