In waters where (Red) Lions roar
The championship round of any league is for the best two teams of the tournament to take on each other.
In the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball, Lyceum is in the finals because of its sweep of the elimination rounds. An 18-0 record is impressive but is not yet resounding since the title has not yet been won.
San Beda College, one of the NC old guards, is back in the finals after dispatching San Sebastian College in the stepladder knockout game. The team continues to live up to its name of being Lions: Hungry, ready to pounce on all corners and proud to always hunt for the right to remain king of that sports jungle.
San Beda took Friday’s Game 1 of the best-of-three finals, 94-87.
But there are really no favorites nor underdogs here. The two able coaches, Lyceum’s Topex Robinson and San Beda’s Boyet Fernandez, exchange niceties and goodwill which is a welcome sporting angle to the title clash but will never come to terms as to who has the decided edge in this series.
Both teams are on equal footing and can win the title.
In the eliminations, the Pirates stopped the Red Lions twice, the second time in a pulsating double overtime encounter where the breaks of the game created the difference. The tired old sports cliché of “who wants it more?” was insufficient as a caption for that battle. It could have gone either way and only the smallest of advantages were capitalized upon by the Pirates.
Game 1 continued to be an extension of that twin overtime drama. The outcome was undecided until Robert Bolick took it upon himself to tote the Lions on his back and bring them to victory. His screams after a clutch layup joined the collective roars of the Bedan gallery. All he wanted was to rev up the pride even more to make them withstand Lyceum’s last stand.
The Pirates are in unchartered waters and must come up with their own gut check to reply to the Lions’ gutsy stand.
The Mendiola school has more than ample NCAA tradition to lean on but this should not inhibit the Pirates from writing their own sports lore.
The 18-game winning streak is done and over with and new games must be won to make Season 93 a truly remarkable one.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.