EAGER to close out the NCAA men’s basketball Finals series on Thursday, San Beda treated its training session at the Mall of Asia Arena and its slippery floor on Wednesday as its last for the season.
“For us, it’s our last practice na,” Art dela Cruz told Spin.ph. “Ayaw na namin mag-practice pa dito kasi mahihirapan pa kami. Mas ma-pe-pressure kami pag bibigyan pa namin ng Game Three.”
Game Two is set at 2:30 p.m. with the Red Lions shooting for a sweep of the best-of-three series and a fourth straight championship after gaining a head start with an 80-68 victory in the opener.
The importance to finish off the series is also not lost on Lions coach Boyet Fernandez.
“Kasi pag nadulas kami rito, the momentum will always shift to the other team,” Fernandez said.
The rain earlier in the day apparently caused the MOA Arena court to moisten, which affected the teams' practice.
“Parang skating rink yung court,” Fernandez said. “Pero no alibis. We just have to play and practice the way we should. Maraming nag-slide, natumba. Pero nag-tiyaga lang kami.”
Fernandez and the Lions can’t afford to complain as they brace for a Knights’ fightback in Game Two.
“With Letran, it has and will always be a dogfight,” Fernandez said. “We’ll be ready for their adjustments.”
The Lions definitely want to avoid what happened last year when they let the Knights gain confidence after scoring a 62-55 victory in Game Two to force a do-or-die game before outclassing their archrivals, 67-39, in the title decider for a 17th league title overall.
Letting the series drag on to a Game Three would also mean an extra day for a tournament that has been running for five months.
“It’s better to end it now after this long NCAA season with everything going on,” Lions skipper Rome de la Rosa said of the competition, which has seen numerous postponements due to the Fiba-Asia Championships and inclement weather.