Red Lions gun for NCAA crown


San Beda College shoots for another championship while Lyceum of the Philippines University seeks to force a do-or-die match when the two powerhouse teams clash in Game 2 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 93 Finals today at the Araneta Coliseum.

Tipoff is at 3:30 p.m.

Behind the heroics of main man Robert Bolick, San Beda moved one win toward its 10th title in 12 years and new league record of 21st overall with a 94-87 victory over erstwhile unbeaten Lyceum in Game 1 of the best-of-three finals last Friday at the same venue.

King Lion Bolick roared strong in the closing moments, firing eight straight points that gave the defending champion a 91-82 lead with 35 seconds left in the game, practically sealing the huge win.

Robert Bolick of San Beda College attempts to score past Sidney Onwubere of Emilio Aguinaldo College during the NCAA Season 93 basketball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

Despite drawing first blood in the finals series, head coach Boyet Fernandez believes that the Red Lions are still the underdogs against the Pirates.

“I’ll stick to the brand that we are still the underdogs. We just won one game against LPU. It’s not yet over. We still have to win one more game,” said Fernandez, emphasizing that his wards lost twice to the top seed this season.

Bolick, who came through with a career-high tying 24 points on top of four rebounds and two assists in 35 minutes of action in the series opener, expects a tougher Pirates today.

“I’m pretty sure they will be more aggressive in Game 2. So, we should be more composed,” said Bolick.

The Pirates, meanwhile, are raring to bounce back in order to continue their Cinderella run of an unprecedented 18-game sweep of the elimination round and cap it off with a fitting maiden crown.

“It (loss) is not going to define us. What’s going to define us is how we are going to bounce back,” said Lyceum mentor Topex Robinson.

Recently crowned Most Valuable Player CJ Perez wants to do the same.

“What’s in my mind is we need to bounce back. We will still do what we can for the next game,” said the athletic forward, who scored a team-best 25 points to go with eight rebounds the last time out.

Robinson took the blame for their Game 1 loss, which saw the boys from Intramuros blow a 12-point lead in the third quarter.

“At the end of the day, it’s my responsibility to find ways to win. I made a mistake, I’m sorry,” admitted Robinson.

The 37-year old tactician though wants to dwell on the brighter side instead, noting that they gained experience heading into their win-or-go home tiff.

“I told the players, ‘We are not new to championship anymore.’ At least, there’s no more excuse for us now to say that we’re new to this,” said Robinson.


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