Red Lions go for kill
It’s a familiar position for San Beda, but the Red Lions know they would need an extraordinary effort to get the job done.
On the brink of clinching a league-high 20th seniors crown, the Red Lions aim to finish off the Arellano Chiefs when they clash in Game 2 of the 92nd NCAA basketball finals at Mall of Asia Arena Tuesday.
Denied by Letran of a crown in his rookie season as San Beda coach, Jamike Jarin understands the challenge facing his squad as the Red Lions go for the jugular against a team they’ve beaten four times this season.
“It’s going to be our hardest game,” said Jarin. “This will be our hardest win.”
Drawing big games from Robert Bolick and Ben Adamos and a steady performance from Dan Sara, the Lions took Game 1 in thrilling fashion, 88-85, last Thursday.
History favors the Lions as all teams that took Game 1 of the finals have gone on to win the crown since the Final Four format was instituted in 1998. The Lions are also 8-0 in the finals in the last 10 seasons when they prevail in Game 1.
Bolick’s all-around play has been instrumental to the Lions’ postseason run, particularly his defense on Arellano’s star guard Jio Jalalon—a fact not lost on Jarin.
“Nobody can guard Jalalon, but he’s there every play,” said Jarin on the 6-foot-1 Bolick, a transferee from La Salle.
Jalalon finished with 21 points in Game 1, but the cramps-stricken guard passed up on the last shot when the Chiefs were down by a point in the dying seconds.
But the spitfire guard was a picture of defiance after the game, convinced that the Chiefs can still turn things around. Arellano coach Jerry Codiñera also believes his team can force a do-or-die duel on Thursday.
“We’re not thinking of anything else but to win Game 2,” said Jalalon in Filipino. “Those four losses are behind us now. We can look forward to Game 2. We know we’re capable of coming back.”
“We beat them in the preseason so I still always look at the positive side,” said Codiñera.
For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity.
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.