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    Red Lions still in search of playing form after pre-season COVID bout

    Mar 31, 2022
    Boyet Fernandez
    Coach Boyet Fernandez is bracing for the top contenders later this season.

    SAN Beda has yet to really get in the groove for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament after more than half of the team got infected with COVID-19 prior to the start of Season 97.

    While the Red Lions have already won their first two games opposite Lyceum and Emilio Aguinaldo College, coach Boyet Fernandez admitted they haven’t been in great physical shape after a late start to their bubble preparation.

    Fernandez on San Beda bout with COVID

    He said the team was affected by COVID-19 at the start of the year, further delaying its entry in the school bubble in Tanay, Rizal.

    “Marami kaming nag-positive when we came back in January puro kami positive,” disclosed Fernandez, who himself was also infected by the deadly virus.

    “Madami yun (positive). Yung Omicron (variant). Pero wala naman tayong magagawa dun, e.”

    While not the entire team was affected, everybody had to be cleared before training camp could start.

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    “Lahat kami asymptomatic. We waited for everybody to be negative before we entered the bubble,” Fernandez said. “We have our RT-PCR test and other protocols, so dahan-dahan kaming pumasok (ng bubble).”

    The Red Lions began their bubble training on Feb. 10 or at least a month before the country’s oldest college league opened shop its first men’s basketball competitions in two years.

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    It was obvious San Beda isn’t the same cohesive unit yet that won three straight championships from 2016 to 2018 before losing to the Letran Knights in the 2019 finals.

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      And Fernandez, who has been in the bubble for almost two months now, believes the Red Lions will already be a better team once they get to play against some of the considered heavyweights this season such as College of St. Benilde, San Sebastian, and the Letran Knights.

      “We have to stick to our system now, our system of defense first before offense,” he said. “If we’re going to play against other schools which are very good offensively like Letran and St. Benilde, or San Sebastian, we really have to play defense if we want to go farther in this tournament.”

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      Coach Boyet Fernandez is bracing for the top contenders later this season.
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