Fernandez reminded his team they’re still miles away from achieving their ultimate goal of regaining the men’s basketball championship in the country’s oldest collegiate league.
“We just tied them,” said Fernandez. “It gave us another chance to live.”
The second seeded Cardinals own a twice-to-beat advantage against the No. 3 Red Lions.
The sudden-death game is set on Wednesday with the right to meet defending champion Letran in the best-of-three title series at stake.
San Beda forces a decider against Mapua.
The Red Lions, who lost to the Knights in their 2019 title showdown, were held to just eight points in the third period.
But showing the poise and confidence that made them the most dominant team in the league in the last decade, the Red Lions willed their way back and forced the extra period, before uncorking a 7-0 run in overtime that broke the backs of the Cardinals.
“I’m proud of my players. Even though we’re down they never gave up, and that’s the character we really want to do,” said Fernandez of his team’s comeback effort.
Again, he reminded the Red Lions the victory is just the beginning of what is an expected bumpy road on the way to the championship.
“Masarap because we won this one, but it’s not yet over. We just tied them, that’s what I have always been saying to the players. We all know Mapua is a very strong team, has a very good coaching staff. So we look forward to Wednesday’s game,” said Fernandez.
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