SAN Beda may have swept its season series against Letran, but the Red Lions know it will be a "different" Knights squad they will be facing in the NCAA Finals.
Since losing the second of two games against the Red Lions, the Knights have metamorphosed into the hottest team in the league. They have now won eight in a row and 10 of their last 11 matches, the last two against a heavily favored and twice-to-beat San Sebastian side in the Final Four.
“Considering their Final Four series (against the Stags), it actually shows Letran is not the team we beat anymore,” San Beda's rookie slotman Ola Adeogun said on Tuesday at the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum in Shakey’s Malate. “They’re really playing together.”
“They’re the hottest team in the league right now,” San Beda team manager Jude Roque added.
Roque said the Knights have at least "four to five players" capable of giving them tons of problems in the best-of-three finals beginning on Thursday at the MOA Arena. He cited Mark Cruz, Jam Cortes, Raymond Almazan, and Kevin Racal but made special mention of star guard Kevin Alas.
“Kevin is the best pure talent in the NCAA,” he said.
The Knights, however, refused to be lulled into complacency by the compliments, with assistant coach Tino Pinat saying the Lions remain the favorites in the best-of-three affair.
“Favored pa rin ang Beda,” he said.
San Beda, on the other hand, is one team that, unlike Letran or San Sebastian, has no star player. Instead coach Ronnie Magsanoc has a group of players who work well as a team, any one of which can explode at a particular time.
Letran coach Louie Alas, however, said he will be focusing his defense on two persons - Adeogun and Baser Amer.
“Everybody knows we are the underdogs,” Alas said.