|Although he elevated his record to 3-0, San Beda mentor Boyet Fernandez still admits that playing on opening day is a challenge. Franchesca Nicole Collantes/Dugout Philippines|
PASAY -- With a slightly hoarse voice, San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez was relieved that the Red Lions had to pull a close shave against Perpetual Help to open their title defense of the NCAA men's basketball crown last Saturday.
The two-point squeaker for them did confirm their worst fears, as the fact that a former Bedan legend was on the sidelines for the season hosts made their opening day task even harder.
"Playing against coach Frankie [Lim] will be a tough one," he conceded after the game, considering the contributions the former Alaska guard made when he was at the helm in Mendiola, winning four NCAA crowns including an undefeated season in 2010 where the Red Lions won eighteen straight.
Although he remain undefeated for the third time in opening day games, Fernandez admits that San Beda has a tough time winning those, as most of the followers of the college game are expecting them to win, apart from the fact that they won all but two NCAA titles in the past twelve years.
"The boys never gave up. We made stops at the end, our defense was there," he added, as he pointed to Robert Bolick as his go-to-guy. "It's really tough to play the opening game, but at least we came through."
But the guard's reply was straightforward and right away, he looked at the stats and noticed the glaring flaws, apart from his awful shooting in the field.
"Wala eh. Siguro yung pinakamasama sa amin yung [limang] assists. Di nangyayari sa amin yun, kahit yung pinakaunang panahon," Bolick said as Edgar Charcos out-assisted San Beda all by his lonesome, dropping seven dimes as opposed to just five for the entire Red Lions.
The close call draw comparisons on their opener five season ago on the same MOA Arena floor, when they also needed a last-second play to pip St. Benilde.
And despite all the glaring differences in both of those games, Fernandez reiterated the tough nature of the opening day games, most notably the element of surprise the season hosts bring.
"Dun din ako kinakabahan maglaro ng first game. Kasi we don't see how Perpetual did. That's why we talked a lot in the huddle that we just have to be patient," he surmised.
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