SAN Beda’s close win over the gritty Perpetual Help proved that it is not enough for teams to just push the champions to the brink, they’d have to dig deeper to finish the job.
The Altas had to learn the hard way as the Red Lions escaped with a 67-65 win in the opener of the NCAA Season 94 at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.
Coach Boyet Fernandez need not to look far for a hero to find an escape route against a very game Altas team – and it was the same player who struggled for most of the game.
“Yung butas na yun, si Robert Bolick yun eh,” Fernandez explained when asked how they managed to pull off that escape act.
But Bolick, who finished 3-of-14 from the field but still wound up with 15 points and a key steal late, shrugged that off and even said that they shouldn’t have won the game with the way they played.
Bolick pointed out the disparity in assists, when they had a total of just five assists in 21 made shots compared to Perpetual’s 19 assists as a team.
That’s something that Bolick finds unacceptable.
“Siguro pinakamasama samin assists, five assists oh. Di nangyayari yun kahit pinakaunang panahon, first time, five assists, we didn’t play as a team,” said Bolick who was hard on himself despite the win.
“Assists are part of playmaking. I didn’t do a good job. Siguro coach Boyet will let me see the tapes, yung assists, five compared to 19. We should’ve lost that game,” he added.
Bolick, who’s still recovering from a hamstring injury over summer, asked for patience as he continues to recover his footing.
“Siguro give me time, I’m still recovering from my injury, but I’ll get there.”
Despite the sluggish start, Fernandez isn’t that worried as he understands how tough it is to win games in the opening day, especially against a sold-out crowd favoring the hosts.
Like Bolick, Fernandez believes they’d still get better.
“It’s really tough to play an opening game. The fans are there. Euphoria ang start ng NCAA season, mahirap e. Mahirap maglaro,” Fernandez said.
“We only played Perpetual in the Filoil, after that two weeks sila nabakante at di namin sila nakita maglaro. Yung plays nila are differnet and I told them to just stick with what we’re doing. I’m just happy we got this win. A win is a win.”