FOUR peat champion San Beda College will go for the kill for its 19th overall crown when they battle the Arellano University Chiefs in Game 2 of the best-of-three titular series of the 90th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament at 1:30 p.m. today at The Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
In the other camp, coach Jerry Codiñera of the Chiefs vowed to get even and force a deciding Game 3. San Beda posted a resounding 74-66 win against Arellano in Game 1 on Monday.
A win by the Red Lions under coach Boyet Fernandez will enable San Beda to join the San Sebastian College Stags in the elite five-peat club.
“We’re happy we won the game but it’s just one game. We need to win two games to bring home the bacon. I challenged my boys to win the series,” said Fernandez, who is also the designated head coach of the NLEX Road Warriors in the 40th season of the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup.
Arellano University coach Codiñera remained hopeful, saying that winning today’s game will keep their hope of winning their first championship since joining the league in 2009 alive.
“At least they felt the jitters of playing in the finals. But we should go beyond that accomplishment. For us to beat San Beda, we have to change our mindset,” said Codiñera.
Codiñera blamed their poor 13-of-25 free throw shooting for the setback. He cited Keith Agovida, who just managed to put in four of 13 charities including four missed shots in the last five minutes.
“This is the finals so we’ve got to be playing all-out. But our free-throw woes were a big factor. The five to nine free throw misses in the fourth quarter hurts,” added Codiñera, one of the 25 greatest players in the PBA.
In the Juniors finals, the Mapua Red Robins, which won Game 1, 84-75 over the San Beda Cubs will also try to end a 14-year long title drought at 11 a.m.
The Red Robins last won a championship in 2000.
“It’s been a while since the school won a high school championship,” said Mapua coach Randy Alcantara, who started coaching the team six years ago.