LETRAN coach Caloy Garcia wants the Final Four pairings to stay as it is, and it’s not because he wants to avoid an early clash with three-time defending champion San Beda.
“Para hindi na magulo at para matapos na,” said Garcia, citing the already dragging NCAA Season 89.
“Malapit na mag-PBA. Sayang ’yung Davao trip,” Garcia added, referring to Rain or Shine’s PBA Philippine Cup debut against Alaska on November 17 in Davao City, which is set a day after the NCAA finals series should it reach a Game Three.
Garcia admitted Letran's Final Four preparations have been messed up by the possible forfeiture of games of league-leading San Beda amid accusations point guard Ryusei Koga saw action in a separate tournament while the NCAA season is ongoing.
Garcia's only hope is that the NCAA Management Committee will come up with a decision as soon as possible so that the Knights would know with certainty which opponent to prepare for ahead of the Final Four.
If San Beda's four wins are forfeited in the event Koga is found guilty, Letran will end up as the top seeds and face the three-time champions in the Final Four.
In the event of a San Beda reprieve, Letran will face third-seed San Sebastian. Either way the Knights will have twice-to-beat advantage in the round.
“’Yun nga ang problema, pati kami pinoproblema namin ’yung sa San Beda because we don’t know who we are going to face (in the Final Four). Hindi naman kami ’yung na-protesta kaya ayaw nalang namin isipin,” Garcia said after his PBA D-League team Hogs Breath Cafe won its first game in the Aspirants Cup on Thursday.
So far, Letran is still running its usual practices but it doesn’t involve game strategies against San Sebastian or San Beda.
“We have a system to run pero we don’t know our defensive plan yet so we are just keeping it simple,” said Garcia.
Garcia is unfazed by a possible Final Four showdown with the Red Lions. The two rivals split their season series, with Letran winning the first-round encounter.
“Ang kagandahan lang doon, we have a twice-to-beat advantage. From the beginning naman, our goal is to get the twice-to-beat, which we were able to get,” said Garcia.
Letran will have another week to prepare for the Final Four, which will begin on November 7.
“More on conditioning na lang ito dahil mahaba na naman ang gap,” said Garcia.