Red Lions seek to sustain surge while Knights aim for morale-boosting win as NCAA rivals clash
Robert Bolick and Rey Nambatac lead their respective teams as San Beda and Letran rekindle their rivalry. Jerome Ascano and Raph Lazo

SAN Beda targets its third straight win in the NCAA Season 93 when it rekindles its rivalry with Letran on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.

Tip-off is at 4 p.m. with the Red Lions gunning for its fourth win in five games against the Knights who are still looking for consistency after a shaky start to the season where they started with a win against two losses.

League leaders Lyceum will also be in action as they look to make it four wins in as many games against Arellano University (2-1) at 2 p.m. as Mapua (1-2) and Emilio Aguinaldo College (1-2) battle in the curtain raiser at 12.

But all eyes will definitely be on the first rivalry match of the tournament, a clash that is never short of drama and intrigue despite the two schools having contrasting starts to the season.

Head coach Boyet Fernandez is all too familiar with Letran, and this early, he’s already bracing for a war.

The two-time NCAA champion coach is wary of their nemesis’ physical play – and they expect nothing less on Tuesday but a debilitating grind from their foes.

“It will really be a tough matchup. Letran’s a very physical team. You saw what happened to EAC last game. Laminou got hurt, other guys got hurt. It’s the brand of the game of Letran,” said Fernandez.

“We will just have to be ready with that physicality and hopefully the referees will call it right but for us we just have to play the game and looking forward to play Letran on Tuesday,” he added.

So far, heroes have come aplenty for Fernandez this season as he has seen players step up each game to backstop the tremendous play of Robert Bolick and JV Mocon.

But while the Red Lions have seen players emerge left and right, the Knights are still looking for consistency, evident in their previous three matches where they could have easily won, or lost, all three with the way they played.

Head coach Jeff Napa rued his squad’s inability to stick to their game plan in their losses but is confident that it’s an issue that will be very fixable as the season progresses.

The second year head coach knows that they have been struggling, but he also understands the gravity of a San Beda – Letran match, where a win against a rival will give them that much-needed boost to jumpstart their campaign.

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“Syempre all out kami. Di kami basta basta magpapatalo dun. We will bounce back strong and talagang mage-execute kami ng tama para makuha nmin ang gusto namin. Syempre iba talaga preparation dyan, mabigat ang preparation dyan. Matagal na naming ka-rival yan so we have to prepare,” said Napa.

“Ganun din naman sila eh kaya paghahandaan namin ang Tuesday. Although mabigat lang sa amin na we lost but we have to move on para makapag-concentrate kami against San Beda.” 

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