San Beda o Letran?
Francisco Cagape (Philstar.com) - November 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Wala nang bukas pa para sa San Beda Red Lions at Letran Knights sa kanilang paghaharap ngayon sa winner-take-all match sa best-of-three Finals series ng Season 95 NCAA basketball tournament sa Mall of Asia Arena (MOA) sa Pasay City.

Hangad ng Red L­ions ang ika-23rd titulo habang asam naman ng Knights ang pang-18 korona sa men’s division sa kanilang pagtatagpo sa alas-4 ng hapon.

Target naman ng 22-time champion San Beda Red Cubs ang kanilang ika-23rd titulo sa juniors’ division sa pagharap sa Lyceum Junior Pirates sa ala-1 ng hapon. Kapwa Red Cubs at Junior Pirates ay tabla sa 1-1 win-loss kartada sa kanilang serye.

“I salute my players. They really want to prove something. That’s what character is. We had a loss and then everybody’s against us,  but the players really don’t want to lose,” sabi ni SBU head coach Boyet Fernandez.

Asam ni multi-titled coach Fernandez ang kanyang pang-limang titulo sa San Beda at ikatlong sunod mula nang bumalik sa Red Lions bench kapalit sa nagbitiw na si Jamike Jarin noong 2017. Inihatid din ni Fernandez ang Red Lions sa dalawang sunod na korona noong 2013 at 2014.

“Unang-una, Letran did a good job. They’ve been so ready for us, they know what we’re doing, credit to their coaches.  I hope we sustain our victory in Game 2. Playing a tough team like Letran that will be hard for us but again I do thank my players, thank the Lord for giving us a chance, another game to fight for and hopefully we can show them again what is San Beda basketball on Tuesday,” dagdag ni Fernandez.

Nagwagi ang Letran laban sa San Beda, 65-64 sa Game 1 noong Martes ngunit bumawi naman ang Red Lions sa Game Two, 79-76 noong Biyernes kaya naibaba sa do-or-die battle ang serye.

Ayon naman kay Letran assistant coach LA Tenorio na malaki ang tsansa ng Knights na masungkit ang titulo kaya lang kailangan umanong palaging dikitan ang Red Lions mula umpisa hanggang sa dulo ng laro.

“I think malaki pa rin chance namin to get this championship. We just have to keep the game close. Mahirap labanan ang San Beda kapag nalamangan ka na,” pahayag ni Tenorio na dati ring star player ng San Beda High School.

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