Mapua Red Robins

NCAA Basketball Championship (Philippines)

This article is about the NCAA Philippines Basketball Championship. For the ongoing 2008-2009 tournament, see NCAA Season 84. For a list of champions, see List of NCAA Philippines basketball champions. For the American counterpart, see NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament is held every first semester of the academic year (from June up to October). Each year, eight schools vie to win the two championships: the Juniors and Seniors. If a school wins both championships in one season, it said that they have won the "double championship."

The tournament commences with a double-round robin of eliminations, where the four teams with the best records advance to the semifinals, with the two top seeds clinching the twice to beat advantage. The winners in the semifinals meet in a best-of-3 Finals series, in order to determine the champion.

The championship is continually contested since the league's foundation in 1924, except during World War II and the mid-1960s when scandals rocked the league.

The athletic nicknames of the different teams variously came from the school's founders, or from a distinct quality that separated a school from the others.

Notably, the first champion of this event was crowned in 1925, 14 years before the U.S. NCAA tournament was instituted.

Tournament format

Since 1996, the eight member schools field in their varsity teams in a double round eliminations, where the schools play each other twice. The four teams with the best records advance to the crossover semifinals, popularly known as the Final Four.

The two top teams have a twice to beat advantage. The lower ranked teams need to win twice against the higher ranked teams to advance to the best-of-three Finals, where the first team to reach two wins becomes the NCAA basketball champion.


  • If two teams are tied, the statistic that would be looked upon is the regular season series between the two teams. If a team sweeps the regular season series (that is, won the two games against the other team), no playoff will be held, and the team which swept the series automatically gets the higher seed. (Example: 2004-05 Season when PCU and UPHDS were tied with 10-4 records for the 1st seed. UPHDS swept their regular season series, which led to UPHDS taking the first seed, while PCU settled for the second seed.)
    • Exemption: If the teams are tied for the 4th seed, a playoff will be held, regardless of the regular season series outcome.
  • If there are more than two teams tied, the statistic that well be looked upon is the total quotient (points scored minus points conceded, much like the goal difference statistic used in association football). The two teams with the strongest quotients will play the playoff and all other team/s are automatically eliminated. (Example: 2004-05 Season when the Cardinals, Stags and Red Lions were all had 7-7 records for the 4th seed. By virtue of weaker quotient, San Sebastian was eliminated, and Mapua & San Beda played the playoff game.)

Elimination Round sweep

If any event a team finishes the elimination round undefeated, that team will advance outright to the Finals. The third and fourth seed will have a sudden-death game to determine the opponent of the second seed. Then, the winner of the sudden-death match between the second seed and third/fourth seed advances to the Finals to face the first seed. Previously, the first seed holds a twice to beat advantage in the Finals (the Finals would not be a best of three affair), but since 2008, the finals was in a best-of-three series even if a team swept the elimination round.

Previous formats

Prior to 1998, when the NCAA had, for most part of its history, six teams, employed a double round robin tournament. The winner of the first round (the team with the highest standing) would notch the first Final berth, while the winner of the second round would notch the second Final berth.

If a team manages to have the best overall record, yet fails to win either round, that team will play the winner of the second round in a playoff game, to face the winner of the first round in the Championship game. The games of the Championship round are all single-elimination matches, until the 1980s when the Championship game was expanded to a best-of-three series.

If a team manages to win both rounds (not necessarily a sweep), the Championship round will be omitted, and that team will be declared outright champions.

In cases of tie, a playoff game will be played to determine which team won the round. If more than two teams are tied, each team will play the teams they are tied with once. If for example, a team won the first round, and is tied with another team for first place at the second round, a playoff game will be played to determine which team wins the round. If the team that won the first round wins in the playoff game, the Championship round will be omitted, since the team won both rounds. If the other team wins, a Championship round will held, since two different teams won the two rounds.


  • 1924: The NCAA began its first season. In basketball, the Ateneo de Manila won the Midgets title, De La Salle College won the Juniors title, and the University of the Philippines won the seniors title.
  • 1927: San Beda won their first Seniors title in the NCAA's fourth season.
  • 1936: UP and UST withdrew permanently from the NCAA. FEU also withdrew.
  • 1939: A pair of Ateneo-La Salle Final games were held at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum. The juniors La Salle team defeated the Ateneo juniors team, while later on the day the La Salle seniors team defeated the Ateneo seniors team. The La Salle seniors team captured their first NCAA Basketball title.
  • 1941: Ateneo de Manila and Jose Rizal College won the last basketball championships before the start of World War II.
  • 1947: The Championship Game went into the last shot, which led to La Salle winning the first basketball championship after the Pacific War, against Mapua.
  • 1950: At the final game of the elimination round, the Letran Knights were assured of a title, for they've won the two rounds, but the San Beda Red Lions beat them on the final non-bearing game, depriving them of a season sweep.
  • 1955: San Beda won the three-legged Crispulo Zamora Cup defeating Ateneo de Manila.
  • 1962: At the Final game, a riot ensued when Mapua supporters alleged that a referee favored the Ateneo team. The Eagles won the game, and the championship.
  • 1972: The JRC Heavy Bombers wins their last (as of 2005) NCAA title, with all of its starting five being drafted to the newly formed Philippine Basketball Association three years later.
  • 1973: The SSC-R Golden Stags win their 1st ever NCAA Seniors Basketball crown.
  • 1974: First round pennant winners La Salle defeated second round pennant winners Ateneo 90-80.
  • 1977: In the 1977 Finals series, Ateneo de Manila and San Beda had their melee at the Araneta Coliseum. This led to a closed-door match, wherein Ateneo de Manila's Pons Valdez's last shot was disallowed as time expired , giving San Beda the victory.
  • 1978: League-wide violence led to the withdrawal of Ateneo de Manila from the NCAA. At the time Ateneo de Manila left, it had the most number of titles in men's basketball, a record that would only be tied and surpassed in 2003. San Beda withdrew in 1982 but came back in 1986.
  • 1980: La Salle fans and Letran supporters engaged themselves in a brawl during the second round of eliminations in the 1980 season. The Rizal Memorial Coliseum was wrecked apart as the two sides ripped apart the chairs bolted to the ground and threw them as weapons. The Basketball Association of the Philippines aborted the 1980 season and suspended Letran in all events. In 1981, the league readmitted Letran, which led to La Salle withdrawing from the NCAA. La Salle went to the UAAP, but was denied membership on their first try (with a vote of 5-2, with Ateneo de Manila and UST voting against). La Salle was finally admitted to the UAAP in 1986.
  • 1982: Samboy Lim led the Knights to two pennants, scrapping the Championship round, with the only loss coming from the San Sebastian Stags led by their star player Paul Alvarez. This would be the start of a three-year championship streak of Letran.
  • 1985: The SSC-R Golden Stags won their 2nd NCAA Seniors Basketball crown and their 1st in 12 seasons. They also ended Letran's championship streak at 3. Alvin Patrimonio of the MIT Cardinals won the season MVP plum.
  • 1988: The SSC-R Golden Stags became the 1st team in NCAA history to sweep the Seniors Basketball regular season. They won the 1st and 2nd rounds and finished as the eventual champions. Eugene Quilban won the 1988 NCAA MVP. Paul Alvarez played his last NCAA season and ended up as a winner. The Letran Knights finished 2nd.
  • 1989: Only on their fifth year in the league, Perpetual Help barged into the Finals, led by Rene "Bong" Hawkins. However, they were beaten by the defending champions, San Sebastian, in the three game series. Eugene Quilban of SSC-R won his 2nd straight NCAA MVP.
  • 1991: Benny Cheng of Mapua scored on the last second of the deciding Game 3 to deny San Beda the championship, at ULTRA. Mapua snapped their "once in a sixteen years" championship curse as San Beda extended their title drought to 14.
  • 1993: Season MVP Jesse Bardaje led the SSC-R Stags to the 1st of 5 straight NCAA Seniors Basketball crowns. Arturo "Turo" Valenzona was the Stags' head coach.
  • 1996: The SSC-R Stags became the 1st team in NCAA history to win 4 straight Seniors Basketball crowns. They defeated the San Beda Red Lions in the Finals. Rommel Adducul won the NCAA MVP for the 2nd straight year. SSC-R also celebrated its 50th (Golden) anniversary.
  • 1997: San Sebastian College-Recoletos, which was led by the Sensational Six in MVP Rommel Adducul, Aramis Calpito, Brixter Encarnacion, Ulysses Tanigue, Jasper Ocampo, and Rommel Daep, made the last 12-0 Seniors season sweep in the NCAA. Facing San Beda in the Finals with a twice to beat advantage, the Golden Stags won, 84-72, after trailing at halftime. They capped off a five-year run as NCAA champions, with an overall record of 13-0. The Golden Stags also averaged 89.9 points per game during the season while limiting their opponents to 69.16 points per game. Reserve sophomores Jerome Barbosa, Michael "Topex" Robinson, and rookies Mark Macapagal and Alvin Pua were also part of the legendary 1997 Golden Stags team, arguably the best and most dominating team in NCAA history. Arturo "Bay" Cristobal was their coach. The Stags' Sensational Six left the team after the 1997 season, leaving behind a young team which will be eventually led by Barbosa, Robinson, Macapagal, Pua, and rookies Homer Se and Christian Coronel, the 1998 Rookie of the Year. The Letran Knights, led by rookie coach Luis Francisco "Louie" Alas, NCAA "oldie" Christian Calaguio (1998 NCAA MVP) and promising sophomore Kerby Raymundo (1997 Rookie of the Year), capitalized on the departure of the Sensational Six and won the NCAA Seniors Basketball crown the next season.
  • 1999: The Letran Knights became the 1st 4th-seeded team to upset the top seed in the NCAA Final Four when they defeated the 1st seed SSC-R Golden Stags twice. That feat was soon duplicated by the Golden Stags the following season when they beat the JRC Heavy Bombers twice to enter the 2000 NCAA Finals. The Knights also won the 1999 NCAA Seniors Basketball crown against the Heavy Bombers in a fight-marred championship game. That was their 14th NCAA Seniors Basketball title and it tied them with the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles for the most NCAA Seniors Basketball crowns. They were led by 1999 NCAA MVP Kerby Raymundo, Allan Salangsang, John Paul Prior, William "Billy" Moody, Orlann Tama, and rookie coach Vincent "Binky" Favis.
  • 2000: College of Saint of Benilde won their first NCAA seniors title, despite joining the league a season earlier. This marks the fastest win for any new school in the league since the World War. In the Juniors Finals series, The Letran Squires qualified outright for the Finals with a 14-0 record. However, they were beaten twice be the Mapua Red Robins in the Finals. This was the last Juniors championship of the Mapua Institute of Technology.
  • 2003: The Letran Knights became the winningest team in NCAA Seniors Basketball history after clinching their 15th crown. They defeated the defending champions SSC-R Golden Stags in the Finals. Ronjay Enrile was named as the 2003 NCAA Finals MVP.
  • 2004: The seniors Finals series featured two teams who have never won the seniors championship before: Philippine Christian and Perpetual Help. Philippine Christian won the series in two games, with Gabby Espinas becoming the first-ever Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year within the same season.
  • 2005: Letran won their 16th championship to remain the winningest team in NCAA history. they won 11 straight games which is the longest in six years but were cut short by a loss to Mapua in their 12th game. it's also a sweet revenge for them as they beat their tormentors, the PCU Dolphins who knocked them out in the Final 4 a year ago.
  • 2006: San Beda finally broke their 28-year championship drought as they edged out three-time finalist PCU Dolphins in the final game that went down the wire. Rookie MVP Samuel Ekwe and Finals MVP Yousif Aljamal led the Red Lions, which became the 3rd winningest team in NCAA Seniors Basketball history with 12 crowns.
  • 2007: San Beda repeats as champions for the first time since 1978, sweeping the Letran Knights in two games.
  • 2008: San Beda won their second three-peat, the last one coming in from 1934-1936

See also: NCAA history and rivalries

NCAA basketball champions

Basketball, as the most popular sport in the Philippines, receives the most attention from the press and the sports-minded public. As a result, the NCAA Seniors Basketball championship is the most coveted title among the NCAA events.

Colegio de San Juan de Letran won the Seniors Basketball title a record 16 times. The Ateneo de Manila (now with the University Athletic Association of the Philippines) is second with 14 titles, closely followed by San Beda with 13.

There is a separate division for high school student-athletes, the Juniors division. The defunct Mapúa High School (now Malayan High School) has the most championships, with eighteen. San Beda High School is second, with sixteen titles.

San Beda College leads the overall tally with 29 basketball titles, followed closely by Letran with 26. Among defunct members, Ateneo has the most number of championships, with 23.

The current champions are the San Beda College Red Lions (seniors), and the San Sebastian College - Recoletos Staglets (juniors).

Double championships

When a school wins both the Juniors (or Midgets pre-1925) and Seniors tournament at the same season, the school is said to have won the double championship.

As of 2005, only six schools were able to win the double championship:

Ateneo de Manila University has the most number of double championships, with four.


Most Valuable Players


Season Men Juniors
1949 Moro Lorenzo
1950 Moro Lorenzo
1961 Amado Tolentino
1966 Jimmy Alabanza
1967 Rhoel Deles
1969 Sixto Agbay
1971 Atoy Co
1972 Philip Cezar
1973 Freddie Hubalde
1974 Lim Eng Beng
1975 Alex Marquez
1976 Steve Watson
1977 Joseph Yango
1978 Alex Marquez
1979 Ramon San Juan
1981 Leo Isaac
1982 Samboy Lim
1983 Romy Ang
1984 Samboy Lim
1985 Alvin Patrimonio
1986 Alvin Patrimonio
1987 Fernando Libed
1988 Eugene Quilban
1989 Eugene Quilban
1990 Estelito Epondulan
1991 Antonio Valeriano Tyrone Bautista
1992 Gilbert Castillo Mark Telan
1993 Jesse Bardeje Dondon Valerio
1994 Reuben dela Rosa Gherome Ejercito
1995 Rommel Adducul Marvin Ortiguerra
1996 Rommel Adducul Ren-Ren Ritualo
1997 Rommel Adducul Edsel Feliciano
1998 Chris Calaguio Derrick Hubalde
1999 Kerby Raymundo Arjun Cordero
2000 Jose Manalo Ronjay Enrile
2001 Emani Epondulan Jay-R Reyes
2002 Sunday Salvacion Oliver Cua
2003 Leo Najorda Jay-R Taganas
2004 Gabby Espinas Ogie Menor
2005 Jay Sagad Allan Mangahas
2006 Sam Ekwe Jake Pascual
2007 Kelvin dela Peña Ryan Buenafe
2008 Sam Ekwe Keith Agovida


Season Men Juniors
1977 Joy Carpio
1996 Ren-Ren Ritualo
Jenkins Mesina
1997 Edsel Feliciano
1998 Derrick Hubalde
1999 Magnum Membrere
2000 Mark Magsumbol Jeffrey Martin
2001 Christian Coronel Jay-R Reyes
2002 Leo Najorda JV Casio
2003 Ronjay Enrile Ogie Menor
2004 Robert Sanz Ogie Menor
2005 Boyet Bautista Eric Salamat
2006 Yousif Aljamal Ryan Buenafe
2007 Ogie Menor Ryan Buenafe
2008 Sam Ekwe Arvie Bringas

Rookie of the Year

Season Men Juniors
1994 Rommel Adducul
1995 Willie Miller
1996 Jerome Barbosa
1997 Kerby Raymundo
1998 Christian Coronel
1999 Sunday Salvacion
2000 Al Magpayo
2001 Ismael Juinio Jay-R Reyes
2002 Jerome Paterno Elmer Espiritu
2003 Ronnie Bughao Jay-R Taganas
2004 Gabby Espinas Marko Batricevic
2005 Kelvin dela Peña Darell Green
2006 Sam Ekwe Jake Pascual
2007 David Marcelo Keith Agovida
2008 Allan Mangahas Jarelan Tampus

Scoring records

Lim Eng Beng of the La Salle Green Archers currently holds the most points scored in an NCAA game where he scored 55 points in the 1974 season when he led the Green Archers to the championship. He scored an average of 32 points in that season.

On September 5, 2008, Keith Agovida of the Jose Rizal Light Bombers scored 82 points against Malayan Science, beating the NCAA record of 70 held by Letran Squire Marlon Bola Bola set in 1970.

Seniors' scoring leaders

Season Name Avg.
2005 Leo Najorda 17.6
2006 Khiel Misa 16.6
2007 Yousif Aljamal 17.1
2008 RJ Jazul 14.7

Origin of team monikers

  • CSB Blazers: As homage to the school which introduced several pioneering courses in the country.
  • JRU Heavy Bombers: World War II Japanese vintage bombs on their campus.
  • Mapua Cardinals: From Major League Baseball's franchise, the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • Letran Knights: The founder was a Knight of Malta.
  • PCU Dolphins: Originally, the PCU administration chose a killer whale, but they instead chose a mammal close to their heart, the dolphin.
  • San Beda Red Lions: Derived from the ancient British heraldic symbol, the Red Lion Rampant, which symbolizes courage. The Red Lion is a fitting symbol for a school named after the Venerable Bede of England, a Benedictine Saint and a great British intellectual.
  • San Sebastian Stags: A stag symbolizes a Christian who, filled with moral ideas, runs fast to God swiftly yet quietly in pursuit of his goals.
  • UPHSD Altas: The monicker ‘Altas’ comes from the Latin word “height,” symbolizing UPHSD's aspirations for further greatness. At the same time, it comes from the initials of the school founder, Dr. Antonio L. Tamayo.


  • San Beda College is the only remaining founding member of the league.
  • San Beda, along with JRU, are the schools with the longest span of membership, with 79 years.
  • The newest school to join the league is College of Saint Benilde which joined the league in 1998.


See also

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