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'Underdog' San Beda, Mapua clash in NCAA Final Four knockout game for spot in finals

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 10/05/2022 BEA MICALLER,GMA News
NCAA 97. San Beda Red Lions vs Mapua Cardinals, Final Four, May 8, 2022. Photo: Angela Davocol NCAA 97. San Beda Red Lions vs Mapua Cardinals, Final Four, May 8, 2022. Photo: Angela Davocol

San Beda University is expected to come full throttle when it tackles Mapua University in a do-or-die Final Four clash on Wednesday for the right to face Colegio de San Juan De Letran in the NCAA Season 97 Finals.

The Red Lions roared back from a double-digit deficit in their first meeting last Sunday to erase the twice to-beat-advantage held by the Cardinals.

The two teams battle at 3 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Mapua, the second seed, was the team that handed #3 San Beda its first loss of the season during their elimination round collision. Both teams wrapped up the eliminations with 7-2 records, but the Cardinals came up ahead because of the head-to-head win.

But the Red Lions, who were relegated to the play-in round, came back not only to reach the Final Four, but also force a knockout game for the spot in the finals.

According to San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez, despite their crucial win in the first game, it will still all boil down on how they will execute their plan come Wednesday.

"With the way you saw the game, I think we're still the underdogs due to the fact that we just came back from 10-points down in the last seven minutes," Fernandez said after their epic 73-67 comeback overtime win.

 
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"So we still feel that we really have some things to improve and hopefully, we'll be back on Wednesday."

Team captain Ralph Penuela echoed Fernandez' sentiments, saying they have to put their previous games behind them as they look to pull off the Final Four upset.

Penuela keyed San Beda's come-from-behind victory, knocking down crucial baskets down the stretch to finish with 13 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, to go along with two rebounds, one steal, and a block.

"'Yung execution namin kasi simula pa lang nung una, nung start pa lang ng season na 'to, hirap pa kami eh kasi this is a new team and new system so doon kami nagsa-struggle," Penuela said.

"But you know, sinasabi ko sa team namin na it's enough. Enough na 'yung mga pinagdaanan namin na games, this is playoff basketball [and] kailangan na talaga namin mag-execute."

Penuela added that they should strengthen their defense, especially against a Mapua side who is leading the league in terms of three-points percentage.

"Coming sa Wednesday na game, kailangan lang namin maging solid sa

execution, share the ball, and tighten the defense pa."

—JMB, GMA News

This article 'Underdog' San Beda, Mapua clash in NCAA Final Four knockout game for spot in finals was originally published in GMA News Online.

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