August 22, 2019
San Beda University head coach Boyet Fernandez commended and thanked his players for their rigorous preparation that resulted in a resounding 88-73 victory over finals rival Lyceum of the Philippines University in Season 95 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) seniors basketball tournament.
“First of all, I’m thankful to my players for all the sacrifices that they had in the last three days that we prepared for LPU,” said the multi-decorated mentor after the Red Lions’ seventh straight win on Tuesday night at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
“We’ve been over-practicing for about an hour because we really wanted to prepare for LPU. That’s why I’m thankful to the players because if not for their sacrifices, we would not be able to do what we need to do in this game,” he added.
Veteran player Calvin Oftana is consistent, posting a career-high 20 points on top of 12 rebounds while Cameroonian center Donald Tankoua tallied 19 markers and six boards for defending champion San Beda.
Seasoned wingman Clint Doliguez chipped in 15 points while sophomore playmaker Evan Nelle orchestrated the Lions’ attack with seven assists plus 14 markers.
“It’s a total team effort. I can only thank my players for all the sacrifices that they did,” said Fernandez.
San Beda enjoyed an early 18-point lead but Lyceum managed to snatch the advantage in the third quarter.
Up by only three points, 61-58 heading into the final frame, the Lions employed airtight defense to limit the Pirates to just 15 markers while scoring 27 points of their own.
“They (Lyceum) can all score. It’s just a matter of us making stops which we did in the fourth quarter,” said Fernandez. San Beda led by as high as 22 points in the final 10 minutes.
“That (defense) really propelled us in this game. As I told my players, it’s our defense that will lead us to victory and it shows tonight that we won because of our defense.”
At 7-0, the Lions remained on top of the 10-team standings but for Fernandez, it is still a long way to go to their their four-peat dream.
“We will not stop here. It’s only one game. We have so many games to go.”
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