NCAA Finals: With and without Perez, San Beda sinks LPU

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 12, 2018 08:50 PM
NCAA Finals: With and without Perez, San Beda sinks LPU
San Beda actually had a bigger winning margin over LPU with CJ Perez playing

San Beda University easily handled Lyceum of the Philippines, 73-60, in Game 1 of the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Of course, that came with some sort of extra note that CJ Perez was suspended and did not play for the Pirates.

Still, Red Lions mentor head coach Boyet Fernandez was adamant that shouldn’t take away from the fact that they dominated that game from start to finish. “It’s not San Beda’s fault that CJ wasn’t able to play in Game 1. In fact, San Beda wasn’t involved in the voting regarding the suspension,” he said.

Indeed, they were firing on all cylinders right from tip-off before fending off their opponents’ late surge last Tuesday.

And in the eyes of coach Boyet, the fact that the Pirates kept coming was just proof that he and his wards still had to work for that win. “I do give credit to the coaching staff of LPU, but please give credit to my players,” he said.

Nonetheless, the criticism that Perez’s presence would have changed the complexion of the contest stayed with San Beda heading into Game 2. “It became our fuel that some people thought we only won because LPU was without CJ. That really became our mantra – let’s prove that we can beat LPU with CJ there,” their mentor said.

That is exactly why when the series decider came, a decider where Perez would be making his return, the Red Lions wanted nothing more than to send a statement. “Ako, mas gusto kong kumpleto para mas maganda yung championship kasi kami sa San Beda, competitive kami,” Robert Bolick said.

He then continued, “Mas maganda, mas kumpleto para win or lose, masasabi naming ginawa namin yung best namin.”

They did just that, throwing an 8-2 haymaker right to LPU’s mouth to start the game.

They never trailed the rest of the way.

In the end, the Mendiola-based squad still got the better of the Intramuros-based squad, 71-56. “56 nga lang sila ngayon e. Mas maganda nga yung laro nila nung Game 1,” Bolick said.

And so, with and without Perez, San Beda easily handled LPU.

Make no mistake, however, the Red Lions have nothing but respect for the Pirates. “Again, to LPU and coach Topex [Robinson], congratulations because you have a very good program,” coach Boyet said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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