Stunned by Jose Rizal U the last time out, host San Beda could only be sharper and more dangerous in the second round of the 92nd NCAA seniors basketball tourney so long as the Red Lions put the bitter lessons into good use.
That’s what San Beda’s second-year coach Jamike Jarin feels so, saying the Red Lions may have gained a timely reminder of how dangerous the road to redemption is following a shock 73-79 defeat dealt by the Heavy Bombers on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan City.
“One good thing about the loss is that we can’t put our guards down. Anybody can beat anybody like what I said at the start of the season,” he told FOX Sports in a phone interview on Wednesday afternoon, keeping himself and the Red Lions optimistic despite being foiled to complete a nine-game sweep of the first round.
“You have to be in your A-game everyday. And that only shows how good the NCAA (battle) is right now. We cannot take any team for granted because every team has a chance to pull off an upset or steal a victory.”
The Red Lions appeared on their way to another crushing victory when they led by as many as 16 points in the third frame and even enjoyed a 71-59 advantage with more than six minutes to play until the Heavy Bombers, mainly behind top guards Paolo Pontejos and Teytey Teodoro, went on a blinding 20-2 closeout to pull off the upset.
“I take full responsibility for the loss,” Jarin admitted, adding he could have made smarter decisions down the stretch. “We’re in control then all of a sudden…we have a chance to stop their run by calling a timeout but I didn’t call any. I tried to make them recover by themselves but it proved costly (for us).”
Jarin added: “Credit to JRU, they made their shots and we did not that’s why they were able to take the victory yesterday.”
Unknown to many, Jarin disclosed a pair of San Beda’s top guns, wingman Davon Potts and versatile big man Javee Mocon, played under the weather.
But Jarin’s not one to make any excuses.
“Davon was suffering from asthma while Javee has somewhat like fever. Kaya ‘yung energy namin at the end of game, medyo mababa. But that’s not an excuse,” he said.
While he insisted that they intend to use the long-week break to “rest, regroup and refocus” for a tougher stretch ahead, Jarin said he’s still pleased with the Red Lions’ overall performance in the first round, with San Beda still a full-game ahead of closest pursuers, Arellano U and Perpetual Help, both running at second with identical 7-2 marks.
“We’re still happy because the goals that we set in the first round, we were able to achieve. Like being in the Top 2 and staying in the hunt for a Final Four spot. So okay pa naman,” he concluded. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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