With NCAA approaching, Red Lions make statement against Cardinals
Facing a fellow NCAA team, San Beda knew it had to play true to form.
The Red Lions did just that on Tuesday and with the Mapua Cardinals playing shorthanded, the game was already practically over after the third quarter.
It was the kind of dominating performance San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez was looking for with the upcoming NCAA season opening in less than a month.
“We just have to make a statement today because we all know that Mapua is one of our rivals in the NCAA,” said Fernandez, whose squad formalized their entry in the quarterfinals with a 6-2 record in Group A after a 95-60 win over the Cardinals in a game where the Lions took a 70-46 lead heading into the final frame.
The Cardinals played minus two key players in Exie Biteng and Daniel Aguirre, who are both nursing injuries, and are on a four-game losing skid entering the game.
But Fernandez said his team just couldn’t take Mapua lightly despite its struggles.
“As I’ve said before, Mapua is a very strong team. They won their first [three] games before losing the next four before this game. It’s just that some of their guys weren’t able to play.”
San Beda will be gunning for its 11th title in 13 years in the 94th Season of the NCAA, which tips off on July 7.
“We’re really preparing for the NCAA so any adjustments we’re doing right now is really part of our preparation for the NCAA season,” Fernandez said.
“Our mindset has always been to play our game and win all our games regardless of whoever will be facing in our next game. We’re looking to win and that’s really the attitude I want to instill in my players even if it’s only a practice game or preseason.”