Coach Boyet: ‘I never considered San Beda as the top team’
UNDERDOGS. San Beda is well aware that for the first time in recent memory, they are not the favorites.
For the first time since 2006, San Beda College is not the top-seed in the NCAA.
Instead, doing all the dominating was Lyceum of the Philippines University which rang off 18 wins in 18 games to automatically advance into the Finals.
And so, the Red Lions now have to stave off oncoming San Sebastian College-Recoletos in a do-or-die game for a Finals berth.
What’s more, they will have a longer, tougher road to the championship round 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.
However, head coach Boyet Fernandez made it clear that since the start of the season, the defending champions didn’t consider themselves as favorites. “Well, I never considered San Beda naman as the top team,” he said.
This, even after they cleanly swept the 2017 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament and even though they come back with an intact core led by Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon.
For Fernandez, even then, parity has been very much evident in the league. “The other teams have improved. As what I’ve always said, the NCAA is already a balanced league,” he said.
Indeed, aside from the Pirates taking the league by storm and making both their first playoffs and Finals, Jose Rizal University has also barged back into the Final Four after a one-year absence.
Meanwhile, San Sebastian, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, and Arellano University were all fighting for that fourth and final playoff berth.
Even teams at the bottom half of the standings in Emilio Aguinaldo College, University of Perpetual Help, College of St. Benilde, and Mapua University weren’t easy outs.
Still, the multi-titled mentor said San Beda remains upbeat about its chances. “I just told the players that, ‘We have another chance of getting to the Finals. We haven’t lost anything, just the twice-to-beat advantage,” he said.
The Red Lions and the Golden Stags fight over the only remaining Finals berth on Tuesday at the MOA Arena. All of the action will be on S+A, S+A HD, and sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/ncaa.
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