IT was not only Jose Rizal University’s vaunted defense that Lyceum had to hurdle in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Before surviving the Heavy Bombers, 84-80, in overtime on Friday, the Pirates faced another obstacle: holding afternoon practice the last two days in darkness no thanks to brownouts that hit the metro in the wake of Typhoon Glenda.
It was so dark inside their practice facility that Pirates’ players had to wear neon-colored bibs on top of their jerseys so they could see each other better.
“’Di kami magkakitaan,” Pirates coach Bonnie Tan said in a short chat with Spin.ph after the game. “But we had no choice. Kailangan kasi mag-practice. Nag-tiis na lang kami.”
That showed how dedicated the Pirates were.
“Kahit walang ilaw, we worked on how to defend without fouling,” Tan said.
Although they still committed 22 fouls that led to 16 made free throws by the Bombers, the Pirates' sacrifices paid off, managing to hold on thanks to the heroics of Cameroonian forward Guy Mbida, who knocked in the game-winning three-pointer in overtime under the bright lights of The Arena in San Juan.