STRONG starts are as important as strong finishes.
After coming up with decisive showings down the stretch in its last two wins, San Beda tries to bring its act to as early as the get-go on Monday when it squares off against Mapua in the NCAA men’s basketball competition at The Arena in San Juan.
“We have to start strong,” Red Lions coach Boyet Fernandez stressed after the three-time defending champions roared past Emilio Aguinaldo College, 80-65, last Monday, behind a telling run in the payoff period.
A week after, the Lions collide with the Cardinals at 6 p.m. as they aim for their third straight win and fourth in five games for solo second place.
Baser Amer spearheaded the Lions’ attack against the Generals in the final quarter, where the pride of Davao pumped in seven of his 14 points to help his team pull away after trailing the whole first half.
And the Lions’ star guard is expected to deliver early on as he hopes to avoid a slow start against a Cardinals side that is trying to arrest a two-game skid.
“Malakas na talaga lahat ng team ngayon, so kailangan every game, go hard kami from the start,” Amer said.
If there was someone who knows how to start strong, it’s the Lions’ Art dela Cruz, who fired 14 of his team-high 18 points in the first half against the Generals, before the lefty forward got significant help from his teammates.
The Lions would also have to deliver defensively against the Cardinals, who have two of the most dynamic swingmen in the league in skipper Kenneth Ighalo and Joseph Eriobu.
The Cardinals, coached by former cage great Atoy Co, are currently second to the last in the standings with a 1-3 win-loss mark in a tie with the Generals.
Emilio Aguinaldo also sees action in the 4 p.m. game opposite Jose Rizal University.
The Heavy Bombers, who are knotted with four other teams at 2-2, are coming off a 73-72 overtime victory over College of St. Benilde last Thursday.