Leading team San Beda College is expecting a tougher challenge in the second round of games of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Football Tournament, according to its head coach Christopher Pedimonte.
The Red Lions ended the opening round of the competition on top of the standings after an impressive sweep in the oldest collegiate athletic association in the country.
After being dethroned by Arellano University (AU) last season, the Red Lions are eager to reclaim their crown.
However, Pedimonte said that despite emerging undefeated after the elimination round, the road to the championship would be tough.
“We are a long way to go before being sure that we can reclaim the title but for us, we are happy that we got our objective of taking the first round but I expect things will be harder in the second round,” Pedimonte told The Manila Times in Filipino.
He added that teams would be preparing hard to taint their pristine record in the next round.
“Definitely things will be different in the second round because there will be a long break and teams will really have time to prepare for the games. Adjustment will be a big factor next round,” he said.
San Beda started their campaign with a 5-0 rout of host University of Perpetual Help Sytem Dalta before trouncing Mapua Institute of Technology, 11-1, and Emilio Aguinaldo College, 10-0.
The Bedans also thumped their rivals in the 2014 finals Lyceum of the Philippines University, 3-0, College of Saint Benilde, 4-1, and champion Arellano, 6-0.
Throughout the initial round, San Beda only conceded two goals in six games, both of which were from the penalty spot.
Pedimonte said that they would be focusing on improving the concentration of the players during the holiday break to prepare them for a tougher battle when play resumes in January.
“The problem we encountered during the games that we conceded goals was the concentration of my players and that is something we are looking to correct. I have been telling my players that they should not rest until they hear the final whistle because usually, we concede goals when my players relax in the pitch,” he said.
“We have a really long break and we will be focusing on our plan of attack against the teams that we will go up against. We will be studying the games of the other teams before the start of the next round,” he concluded.
San Beda will start their Final Four campaign on January 6 against the Saint Benilde Blazers, Arellano Chiefs and Lyceum Pirates.