Pinoy college hoops coach leads team to historic runner-up finish
ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 24, 2017 06:31 PM
(File photo courtesy of BethesdaFlames.com)
The historic regular season for Pinoy Coach Leo Balayon and his Bethesda University Flames has come to and end with a second place finish in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.
The Davao native led the Flames to a 16-and-10 regular season slate in his sophomore year as head coach, the best season in the school’s history, as well as a top ten ranking in the National Christian College Athletic Association.
Balayon, who was at the helm when the Flames snagged a historic win over Divsion One school Cal State University - Northridge, was named PCAC coach of the week four times during the season, while his players multiple all-conference awards, including the MVP honor for Buddha Boyd.
"It's really big for the program, we haven't had a winning season, ever since the inception of the program. So this year was the first time we had a winning record by winning over 500. Being in the championship game of our conference it's been a really good season," Balayon said, "We had the win over the division one that was very historic, my only regret is we planned and prepared for this and we just couldn't pull it off. "
But their season came to a bitter end as they were shot down by the hot-shooting Life Pacific University Warriors, 84-57 in the Finals
Still, the Flames' inexperience is something they can learn about after an impressive turnaround.
"I guess we were nervous. The program itself has never been in a winning situation so this is the first time for the players to be on a stage, you're fighting for a championship so I didn't expect us to be like that today. It's up to me to recover us in the game. I guess I didn't do that."
Even with the bridesmaids finish, the Bethesda Flames are still hoping to get invited into the prestigious National Christian College Athletic Association Tournament in Indiana.
The tournament has eight spots, and six reserved for division winners, but the Flames are ranked 10th in the country, giving them a chance to be invited.
But Balayon is looking into the future, as many players will return next season, and the Flames are hot on the recruitment trail, hoping to bring in some fresh talent.
With reports from Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News