For first time in 11 years, no playoff advantage for San Beda
LONGER, TOUGHER ROAD. San Beda will not have twice-to-beat advantage as it shoots for another rematch with still undefeated LPU.
For the last 11 years, San Beda College was the top-seed in the NCAA.
That then led to nine championships in the last 11 seasons for the Red Lions.
That dynastic streak came to an end on Thursday as Lyceum of the Philippines University completed an elimination round sweep at their expense.
And so, the Pirates automatically advance into the Finals while the defending champions will have to settle for the second seed.
And so, San Beda will have a longer, tougher road to the Finals as with a rule change, they will no longer have any twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder playoffs despite ending the eliminations at 16-2.
Still, they remain upbeat after being this close to toppling undefeated LPU. “We nearly won that game, but we didn’t finish it,” head coach Boyet Fernandez told reporters afterward.
Veteran Javee Mocon could only agree. “Siguro, na-prove lang namin na we could win this game. We had so many chances, pero ‘di namin na-grab,” he said.
Mocon then went on to say how all of the Red Lions gave it their all. As he put it, “On the bright side, ang daming nag-step up sa amin. Sila [Franz] Abuda, [Clint] Doliguez, and si Donald [Tankoua].”
Indeed, Doliguez had 13 points and five rebounds, Abuda had eight points and six rebounds, and Tankoua had 34 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks in their close 105-107 double-overtime loss.
Still, the do-it-all forward acknowledged that being at the wrong end of an elimination round sweep did not feel good. “Every game na natatalo kami, talagang sobrang lungkot sa locker room. Madalang kasi kaming matalo kaya ang sama,” he said.
He then continued, “Kaya everybody wants to get back on track, everybody has the motivation to beat LPU.”
In the end, however, Fernandez reminded his boys to look at the big picture. “I just told the players that, ‘Hey, even though we lost this game, we still have another chance of getting to the Finals. We haven’t lost anything, just the twice-to-beat advantage,” he said.
He then continued, “We’re just on a bye and waiting for (our next game). Kumbaga, pinahirapan lang namin yung sarili namin.”
Now, San Beda will do nothing but gear up for their longer, tougher road to the Finals. “Our main goal right now is not to look at LPU. Let’s forget first about LPU and all our focus right now is on the semifinals,” the head coach said.
He then continued, “Let’s manage first that semifinals win.”
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