Despite three-game sweep of Arellano, Jarin insists weary San Beda still underdog in finals
"You lose your six best players from last year, you lose your best center (Donald Tankoua) during the season. You end up No. 1, you still go up to the finals, we're struggling. We are the underdog," says Red Lions coach Jamike Jarin. Freddie Dionisio

FRESH from ousting Perpetual in the semifinals, San Beda only has a day to rest, recover and regroup for the NCAA Season 92 basketball tournament finals against Arellano University. 

But that hardly matters now for San Beda head coach Jamike Jarin, whose team has now reached the finals for the 11th straight year following a 78-63 win over Perpetual in sudden death last Tuesday.

"They (Chiefs) got the rest ... like what we we're saying, during this time of the year, you can't be tired, you can't be hurting," said Jarin after his team dispatched Perpetual, 78-63.

"All the marbles in the world. It's all about the last 80 minutes," he added.

The best-of-three finale starts at 4 p.m. on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena. And if their elimination round meetings are any indication, San Beda appears likely to take home the crown.

But Jarin doesn't want to get ahead of himself. 

For him, the Red Lions, who beat the Chiefs in three meetings this season, are coming in as the underdogs especially after import Donald Tankoua injured his knee midway through season. 

"You lose your six best players from last year, you lose your best center (Donald Tankoua) during the season. You end up No. 1, you still go up to the finals, we're struggling. We are the underdog," he said. 

Jarin’s also wary of Arellano's deadly backcourt of Jio Jalalon and Kent Salado, who he described as the best duo in college right now.

 "You know, Jiovani Jalalon and Kent Salado, they are the best backcourt in college. Even in the UAAP. they're really good," he said of the two cagers, who are carrying the bulk of the load for the Chiefs all season long.

Still, Jarin is hoping things will go San Beda's way as it aims to reclaim lost glory after losing the championship to Letran last year. 

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"We're just doing something right I think, and hopefully we keep doing the right things," he said. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros