Coach Boyet Fernandez knows what complacency can do to a team aspiring for the crown.
This is what Fernandez reminded members of the defending champion San Beda Red Lions as they get ready to face the Letran Knights in Game 1 of the 95th National Collegiate Athletic Association best-of-three finals.
Gametime is at 4 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Earlier, the San Beda Red Cubs will take on the Lyceum Junior Pirates at 1 p.m.
“They should be learning the lessons of what happened to the Lyceum Pirates a few years ago. Then, we should be ready for the finals,” said Fernandez.
The fate of the Lyceum Pirates when they pulled off a 14-game sweep in season 93 is now in the minds and hearts of the Red Lions.
The Pirates, just like the Red Lions, got an automatic finals’ slot and had a long layoff. They waited for a few weeks before playing the San Beda in the champions, and then lost two straight games.
“We need to be sharp in preparing for the finals,” added Fernandez.
The Red Lions have rested for a total of 25 days after claiming a 14-game sweep of the eliminations with their 85-62 smothering of the Pirates last Oct. 17.
Meanwhile, the Letran Knights will be a confident team going into their encounter with the Red Lions.
The momentum is still theirs after posting six straight wins since the eliminations. They turned back the Lyceum Pirates, 92-88, in the second stepladder semis last Friday.
“They proved themselves by being composed throughout their last six games,” said Knights’ coach Bonnie Tan.
The Red Lions will draw strength mainly on the big game of Calvin Oftana, who averages 15.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 blocks.
He gets backing from James Canlas, Donald Tankoua and Evan Nelle.
The Knights’ game revolves mainly on Jerrick Balanza, who can provide 15.1 points in 27.2 minutes per game.