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San Beda Coach: “We’re Built To Face Adversities”

San Beda coach
James Francisco

Coming into the 99th Season of the Philippines’ National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the San Beda Red Lions’ (SBU) Men’s Basketball Team got off on the wrong foot, evidenced by their rather poor outings—settling for runner-up positions in both of their preseason tourneys and dropping four of their first five games in the second round, prior to their Final Four berth.

Finishing with a 12-6 record, SBC faced the second seeded Lyceum Pirates under a twice-to-win disadvantage. The Red Lions’ commanded the series, overthrowing their Intramuros neighbours in two games, 89-68 and 82-72, prior to their final showdown against Season 99 favorites, the University of Mapúa Cardinals (MU).

YouTube: GMA Sports PH

On paper, MU proved to be the more adept squad, defeating the now 23-time NCAA Champion in both of their tournament matchups, foreshadowing their Game 1 68-63 victory on the SM Mall of Asia Arena hardwood. Regardless of the Cardinals’ position at the top of the ladder, the Red Lions’ culminated their Cinderella run led by Jacob Cortez’s heroic 21 point, 9 rebound display in Game 2, followed by James Payosing’s 11 point, 14 rebound double-double, claming the series’ Most Valuable Player honors in the process.

The San Beda Red Lions dug themselves into a hole early into the season, which they cleared successfully, under the tutelage of SBU alumnus and Head Coach of the Year, Yuri Escueta. Regardless of the challenges encountered, the team remained intact, playing each game as if it were their last—bound for collegiate glory.

“Our team was built to face adversities such as having a twice-to-win disadvantage in both the semis and finals. These challenges, although painful,were the ones that taught us and helped us develop a winning attitude. It made us become a team that played better with its back against the wall,” SBU Assistant Coach Andre Santos tells Complex Philippines.

YouTube: GMA Sports PH

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