It’s the battle cry the San Beda Red Lions have adopted in this Season 97 NCAA Final Four in their bid to reclaim the men’s basketball title.
The third-seeded Lions shouted these words just outside the team dugout following their hard-earned 73-67 victory in overtime against the Mapua Cardinals on Sunday to forge a do-or-die encounter for the last finals berth.
Ralph Penuela disclosed a story behind the team’s new-found motto.
“Oo, yung cook kasi namin (sa bubble) medyo nagliligpit na sila, na uuwi na kami. Pero sabi namin, ayaw pa nating umuwi, di ba,” said the 6-foot-1 Penuela, who finished with 13 points, including the follow up basket that sent the game to overtime at 60-all.
San Beda is in a twice-to-beat disadvantage against second-seeded Mapua, and a loss could have meant the Red Lions packing up from their bubblein Taytay, Rizal and finally going home after almost a three-month long stay.
“Nung una atat na atat nang gustong umuwi kasi ano na sa bubble. Ngayon yung irony, ayaw na naming umuwi lahat. Kaunti na nga lang naman.”
It was that persistent mindset that kept the Red Lions alive after trailing by as many as 10 points in the third quarter and appeared on the way out after sending Brian Lacap to the foul line with eight seconds left in regulation and the Cardinals ahead, 59-58.
But Lacap split his charities, opening the door for the Red Lions to send the game into overtime as Penuela grabbed the offensive rebound off James Kwekuteye’s missed drive and scored the tying basket.
“Naniniwala ako na 'yung every obstacle na ito, it will bind us together. And sobrang tamis nito kapag nalagpasan namin ito,” said Penuela.
Defending champion Letran awaits the winner of the San Beda-Mapua winner-take-all game on Wednesday in a best-of-three title series.
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