It’s not often that San Beda finds itself as the underdog when it comes to the championship round.
But with Lyceum completing an awe-inspiring 18-game elimination sweep this NCAA Season 93, coach Boyet Fernandez is well aware that the Red Lions have the cards stacked against them once the Finals tip off on Friday.
“Lyceum is the best team right now. They beat us twice and they beat us fair and square. So there’s no doubt that we’re the underdogs,” he said.
Despite the unfamiliar situation, Fernandez believes the Red Lions — who have one of the most successful basketball programs — can pull off the triumph and give the school their 10th title in 12 years.
“I know we lost against Lyceum and I know that the people have been doubting us, but the players really believe in themselves,” said Fernandez, citing guys like Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon as the team’s driving force through the course of this year’s journey.
“We lost those two games, but I still do trust my players. I know they will come out big and we look forward for Friday’s game.”
So much is the mentor’s confidence that he likened the Red Lions’ situation to Season 87 in 2011, where the Frankie Lim-mentored squad toppled the San Sebastian crew bannered by the “Pinatubo Trio” of MVP Calvin Abueva, Mythical Team member Ian Sangalang, and sharpshooter Ronald Pascual.
“When (San Beda) entered the Finals, they weren’t the favorites. It was Calvin’s San Sebastian and they won the series. So maybe history repeats itself,” he said.
Fernandez is not leaving any stones unturned in preparing the Red Lions to the best of his capabilities for what is expected to be another all-out war against the Pirates.
“We’ll see what we can do against them. We’re ready,” he said.