Putting one over Arellano U is already an enough reason for San Beda big man Javee Mocon to give his best.
And their exciting encounter on Friday proved no different as the 6-foot-4 Mocon came through with a do-it-all performance, helping the Red Lions overcome the Chiefs 91-81 while keeping their bid for the No. 1 spot in the Final Four round alive in the 92nd NCAA seniors basketball tourney at The Arena in San Juan City.
Doing his best impersonation of injured center Donald Tankoua’s dominant play, Mocon banged in game-highs of 19 points and 15 rebounds on top of two blocks and as many steals while providing crucial plays on both ends in the stretch that enabled the Red Lions foil the late-charging Chiefs.
“I just don’t wanna lose this game. It’s Arellano and they’re the barometer (in the league),” said Mocon during the post-match interview, visibly pleased with how the Red Lions repeated over the Chiefs whom they also defeated 101-86 in their first-round meeting last July 22.
“I just played my heart out. Sabi nga ni coach (Jamike Jarin), I just grabbed those rebounds. I did everything I can to contribute to our win.”
The victory enabled San Beda to tie Arellano U at the end of the double round of eliminations with similar 14-4 marks, paving the way for a playoff for the No. 1 spot on Tuesday at the same venue.
More importantly, the Red Lions have the chance to extend their tradition of finishing as the No. 1 seed in the playoffs for the 11th straight year.
“Of course siyempre you always want to get into the playoffs on a high note. That’s enough motivation for us to play our hearts out again,” stressed Jarin.
With momentum on their side, Mocon feels they have a better chance to repeat over the Chiefs but that doesn’t mean they have to let their guards down.
“We’re confident but were not overconfident. It’s still Arellano. We know they’re gonna come back stronger for next game. They’re gonna start stronger,” he stressed.
“We just have to stay composed and be consistent throughout the game. Like what we did today, pinahirapan talaga namin sila that’s why we win.” – By Jerome Lagunzad