Adeogun is our biggest problem—Letran head coachBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines—Letran head coach Louie Alas was all smiles just moments after his team took down San Sebastian for the last Finals slot Monday night.
But his mood changed when the San Beda center’s name popped up.
“Ola Adeogun? He’s our biggest problem. He and Baser Amer,” said Alas with a cause of concern during his post-game interview following the Knights’ 73-70 win over the Stags.
Adeogun had his way in San Beda’s mastery of Letran in the eliminations. In the first game, the six-foot-seven big man had 12 points in a 65-43 rout, feasting on the thin frontline of the Knights, who at that time didn’t have the six-foot-seven beanpole Raymond Almazan in the fray.
Letran welcomed Almazan back just in time for its second meeting with San Beda but the defending champion still ended up as the victor, 68-62.
“Yung big men talaga nila ang problema especially si Adeogun,” echoed Letran ace Kevin Alas.
Tino Pinat, the Knights assistant coach, sees that the Red Lions will play Adeogun differently in their title series.
“In the elimination round, minsan part pa ng second unit si Adeogun, coach Ronnie (Magsanoc) did a good job in conserving his minutes but this time, with the championship series Adeogun will play more minutes and that will mean more problems for us,” Pinat said at the weekly PSA Forum in Shakey’s Malate Tuesday.
And while Alas and his coaching staff try to figure out what defensive strategy Letran will employ to stop the Nigerian behemoth, San Beda, on the other hand, has its own concerns to address.
“If their problem is Ola and Baser, ours are Kevin (Alas), Jam (Cortes), Mark (Cruz) and Raymond (Almazan) and probably Kevin (Racal) also,” said SBC team manager Jude Roque, who thinks Letran is the favorite to win. “We lost all our shooters from last year. I think our advantage is our bench but scoring-wise we’re still struggling.”
Their best-of-three Finals series begins on Thursday with both squads, who each have 16 men’s basketball titles, seeking to become the winningest NCAA school with championship number 17.
“This will be a long series. They won against us in the eliminations but we’re playing well together now so I think we’ll be able to close the gap,” said Pinat who, along with Roque, vowed the upcoming San Beda-Letran installment will be another classic.