ARELLANO coach Koy Banal has downplayed the team’s remarkable start in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup, but expressed hope the Chief’s impressive showing will later translate into a strong campaign in the coming NCAA season.
“I hope that ‘yun ang sign,” Banal said.
The Chiefs, who missed the Final Four last season after finishing with a 6-12 (win-loss) slate, have been making heads turn in the preseason tournament by winning their first four games.
Adamson was the last team to fall prey to unbeaten Arellano, 80-71, on Saturday. The Chiefs previously defeated Perpetual Help, University of the Philippines, and College of St. Benilde.
But Banal said his players know the NCAA season will be a different story.
“The guys know that it’s not going to be easy pagdating sa NCAA. Everybody will be ready for us because they (Chiefs) made the noise. I hope everybody will still have something to give come NCAA,” Banal said.
Bannered by players James Forrester, John Pinto, Prince Caperal, among others, Banal is of the belief the Chiefs will be a Final Four contender this season although there will be several teams which will definitely crowd them out for a berth in the semis.
“That’s what we believe. While preparing for the coming season, siyempre you have to have that confidence. You have to believe that you can be in the Final Four," he said.
“But we can’t deny CSB, JRU, San Sebastian, and Letran and the others. It’s going to be hard, but we believe that we can make it to the Final Four,” Banal said.
After their sizzling start, the true test for the Chiefs begins this week as they play two UAAP squads in Far Eastern University on Wednesday and defending champion National University on Saturday before facing reigning NCAA title-holder San Beda on May 22 in their remaining elimination-round assignments.
“Alam namin ‘yun,” Banal said, referring to their tough schedule ahead. “That is why after we won last week against CSB, binigyan namin sila ng two days off dahil alam namin na wala na kaming pahinga in the coming weeks.”