AS witness and part of many championship wars in the past, business mogul and top San Beda backer Manny V. Pangilinan has one piece of advice for the three-time defending champions Red Lions shortly after their Game One victory over Letran.
It's not yet over.
Pangilinan was not in the mood to celebrate in light of the Lions’ come-from-behind 80-68 win over the Knights before a full-house crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Tapos na itong (Game One) eh 'di ba?” he told Spin.ph shortly after the game. “(But) the series is not over yet.”
Game Two is set Thursday also at the MOA with the Lions hoping to wrap up their fourth straight title and seventh over the last eight seasons.
Last season, Letran also lost the series opener only to bounce back in Game Two and send the best-of-three series to a winner-take-all affair.
Pangilinan is very much aware of the fighting qualities of the Knights, who kept the astute businessman at the edge of his seat especially after they wrested the lead from the champions entering the final quarter.
“I was a little anxious because the momentum switched to Letran’s side,” he admitted. “So the obvious thing to do is how you regain your composure, but Letran is a good team.”
Trailing the Knights, 47-53, at the end of the third quarter, the Lions outscored the Knights in the pivotal fourth, 33-15, to clinch the win.
“They found their bearings in the fourth quarter,” said the man known as MVP. “Because I guess they realized that this is it. We have to win the quarter or we will lose the game.”
As parting words, Pangilinan reminded the Lions they have to double their effort in the next game to wrap up the series and the championship.
“I told them to forget today's game and just focus on Thursday,” he said. "Bilog ang bola eh."