FOR a team that will parade a new coach in the coming NCAA season, the San Beda Red Lions’ training in Los Angeles will go a long way in their bid for a fourth straight men’s title.
Coach Boyet Fernandez said the Lions’ training stint at the Joe Abunassar Impact Basketball Center not only sharpened the team's game but more importantly improved teamwork and camaraderie.
“It made us as one team,” Fernandez said during a postgame interview on Saturday following the team’s victory over Far Eastern University.
San Beda’s 80-76 beating of the Tamaraws was the Lions’ first game since returning from their annual summer training in the US that lasted for less than a month.
“Hopefully, as we go on and prepare for the NCAA, it will help us in the long run,” Fernandez added.
San Beda is still a team in transition, with Fernandez taking over from Ronnie Magsanoc just as former pillars Jake Pascual and Anjo Caram marked the end of their collegiate careers.
From the looks of it, Fernandez appeared to have become comfortable with his players following the trip.
In one instance, Fernandez tried to contain his laughter when star player Baser Amer whispered to him a personal joke during the postgame interview with sportswriters covering the Filoil preseason tournament.
“What happens in LA stays in LA,” Fernandez said in jest.
On the court, Fernandez said the trip helped develop some of the skills of his players like the post moves of big men Ola Adeogun and Art Dela Cruz, and improved the consistency of his guards' outside shots.
Fernandez said the Lions made strides after playing against teams much taller and stronger than them in pick-up games in and outside the camp.
But the San Beda mentor said the most important aspect of the trip is that it helped the team bond.
“There were instances where we were tired and puyat because sometimes we have a game sa gabi tapos gigising ng 5 a.m. for a 6 a.m. practice. Pagod na pagod ‘yung mga bata, tinatiyaga lang nila, minsan nagkakainitan. But it really made us a team,” said Fernandez.