SAN Beda coach Boyet Fernandez is keeping the faith with Baser Amer despite his star guard's miserable shooting in a 74-79 loss to Letran in Game Two of the NCAA men’s basketball finals.
The usually reliable point guard, who fueled the Lions’ fourth-quarter surge with his long-range shooting and timely assists in a victory in the series opener, was a completetely different man in Game Two.
He missed all but three of his 21 shots, including some in a critical stretch in the fourth quarter when the Knights made the decisive move to force a deciding Game Three on Saturday.
Fernandez, though, was quick to credit Letran's defense for Amer's struggles, primarily rookie guard Rey Nambatac who kept the playmaker from Davao in check for the most part of the game.
“Credit to the defense of Letran,” Fernandez said. “Probably he’s been missing his shots. But as what I’ve said before, wherever Baser goes, this team will go.”
“I still believe Baser will step up in Game Three,” added Fernandez, a former point guard himself during his playing days.
As a team, the Lions shot just 38 percent, compared to the Knights’ 48-percent clip.
Fernandez also wants to give more touches to slotman Ola Adeogun, who came up with 10 points, 13 boards, and two blocks.
“We just have to give the ball to him,” Fernandez said. “If Ola cannot score, we have a problem.”
Overall, Fernandez rued his team’s errors, which he felt did the Red Lions in. San Beda had 21 turnovers that resulted in 18 turnover points and 14 off the fast break by Letran.
Still, Fernandez believes San Beda is still on track for a fourth straight title and 18th overall.
“Nothing’s lost. They still have to beat us one more time,” Fernandez said. “I believe my boys won’t allow that and again it will be a dogfight on Saturday.”