Coach Boyet Fernandez said that the recent success of the Cignal-San Beda team is a result of collaborative effort and should not be attributed solely to his coaching.
Fernandez’s wards on Thursday won its maiden championship crown in the PBA D-League by beating Racal Ceramica, 81-78, at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
It was Fernandez’s seventh title in his eight seasons as a coach.
“This championship is more of my players’. If not for them, we’ll not win this game,” said the 45-year old Bacolod native and former NLEX Road Warriors tactician.
“It is more of hard work and teamwork of my players as well as my coaching staff and the support from the whole San Beda community,” added Fernandez.
Down by 13 points near the end of second quarter, 29-42, the Hawkeyes bounced back via a 13-5 run to tie the game at 48-all entering the third period.
Cignal-San Beda closed the gap, 59-60, entering the last quarter.
“During the break, they came to the dugout and said, ’Hey coach we are not giving up’,” Fernandez narrated.
Javee Mocon stood up for Cignal scoring seven straight points, 75-70, allowing his team to take the lead with 3:48 in the clock.
Rey Nambatac and Jackson Corpuz narrowed the gap for Racal, 79-78, but Bolick’s two free throws secured the Hawkeyes’ first title.
Fernandez said he had learned many lessons that helped him create a new system for his new team.
“I think with the two years I was out, I have learned so many lessons. When I came back, I put all the lessons that I’ve learn in this lineup and I do thank them, my players, who really accepted the system right away,” he said.
Fernandez and the Hawkeyes team has more than a month to prepare for the next D-League conference that opens on May 25, and three months before their much-awaited campaign in the NCAA.
JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID