TO Robert Bolick, what made San Beda one of the best teams in the collegiate ranks is the mind of one Boyet Fernandez.
"Siguro sa utak lang ni coach Boyet, isa siya sa pinakamautak na coach na nakilala ko," he told The Prospects Pod.
Fernandez, an 11-year PBA veteran and the architect of Sta. Lucia's 2008 Philippine Cup conquest, has been the mastermind of the Red Lions' reign for the better part of the past decade owning four NCAA crowns, including the Red Lions' last two titles.
What sets Fernandez apart from his peers is his dedication to preparation, says Bolick.
"As in, grabe siya mag-scout. Siguro kung pwede lang siya pumunta sa practice nila CJ (Perez), pupunta siguro yun," said Bolick as he guested on the podcast together with his former collegiate rival CJ Perez.
The NorthPort guard even recounted one instance where Fernandez refused to step on the brakes when it came to his scouting even when San Beda was set to face a team from a Mindanao school during one of the Red Lions' preseason preparations for the NCAA.
"Yung kalaban namin, somewhere part ng Mindanao, yung alam mo bang hindi pa sila ka-same ng level namin at probinsya gaming. Hindi katulad ng Cebu na medyo may quality of style, sila hindi talaga masyado," he said. "Tapos kami nag-practice pa ng umaga, galit na galit yung import namin. Sabi niya, 'Coach, we're not dumb against this kind of team?' Galit na galit si coach Boyet. Sabi niya, 'Kapag ito naka-score pa sa inyo, ha!' Galit na galit siya kahit tambak na namin ng 50. Sabi ko, grabe ito. Matador talaga kasi lahat inii-scout."
Aside from that, Bolick also commended Fernandez' attention to detail, bringing in his knowledge as a coach from the pro ranks after handling the Realtors for three PBA seasons.
"Pro style si coach Boyet eh. Dati kasi kay coach Jamike (Jarin), walang x and o kundi puso ang ibibigay mo. Kung ano'ng sasabihin niya gawin mo at win or lose, doon sa gusto niya," he said. "Pero kay coach Boyet, iba. 'Uy magaling ito, force left. Uy mahina ito sa kanan, dito mo papuntahin. O di kaya patirahin mo na lang ng three points. Matalo na lang tayo sa three points.' Pro style siya at pro yung pagdala niya sa team namin.
"Kaya yung diskarte namin nagbago. From all heart na sige, laban lang nang laban kay coach Jamike, kay coach Boyet, utakan tayo, babagalan natin yung laro, poste-poste, pick and roll. Parang nag-iba yung style of play namin."
That's why it's no surprise that Bolick's two-year run in San Beda was fruitful as he and Fernandez helped the Red Lions win back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018.
"Hands down talaga kay coach Boyet," the 24-year-old court general said.