SAN Beda College coach Jamike Jarin believes Game 2 of the Finals will be the most difficult for the Red Lions this season when they meet the Arellano University Chiefs at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the 92nd National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball best-of-three championship series at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“On Tuesday, it’s going to be our hardest game, our hardest win. So, we will be ready,” said Jarin.
The Red Lions have been playing without big man Donald Tankoua, who tore his right ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in a game early in the second round.
And without Tankoua, the Red Lions have been counting on backup slotman Benedict Adamos to help fill the void.
The 6’6” Adamos has been stepping up big since the Cameroonian banger went down with the season-ending injury. He scored 16 points, had seven rebounds and a block in the Red Lions’ 88-85 win over the Chiefs in Game 1 last Thursday.
Adamos was just one of the heroes who emerged in the opener, aside from Robert Bolick Jr. and team captain Dan Sara.
Bolick, a transferee from La Salle, came through with the crucial baskets and a defense that shackled Chiefs’ star guard Jio Jalalon.
Sara provided the needed leadership and experience San Beda’s young team lacks.
As for the Chiefs, Jalalon is expected remain as Arellano University’s go-to guy in Game 2 as coach Jerry Codinera said the point guard still has his full trust and confidence.
“I will always count on Jio to take that last shot,” said Codinera.
Jalalon, who led the Chiefs with 21 points, got a lot of flak for giving up the ball to an open Dioncee Holts from the perimeter instead of taking the shot in the closing seconds of the game. Holts missed the shot with 3.7 seconds and Red Lion cager Bolick scored two free throws that won for them the game after he got fouled by Jalalon during a rebound play.
The Red Lions are now one win away from claiming their ninth championship in the last 11 years for a league-best 20th title overall.
“It’s all about adjustments. When they go small, they play zone, we should be happy that it’s a zone. It will be shooting. Just taking the shot. But there’s overpassing and overshooting,” added Codinera, noting the things that need to be corrected in their next game.
Earlier, the defending champion San Beda Red Cubs are expected to bounce back in Game 2 of their junior finals’ clash with the Mapua Red Robins at 1 p.m.
The Red Robins turned to the big plays of shooting guard Clint Escamis in the second half to outplay the Red Cubs, 83-64, in Game 1.
(Game 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena)
1 p.m. San Beda vs Mapua (jrs)
3:45 p.m. San Beda vs Arellano (srs)