MANILA — The Lyceum Pirates and the defending champions San Beda Red Lions will square off on Thursday night for the right to be named the national collegiate champions at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
The said showdown scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off happens to be a rematch of their NCAA title showdown last year won by San Beda.
Both teams played for four games in five days during the early phases of the national playoffs–five games in five days for the Pirates if you include their game in the PBA D-League that coincided with the first day of the Elite 8 round.
“Pare-parehas kaming pagod (We’re all tired),” said King Pirate CJ Perez.
Perez believes the game will not just be decided on the physical aspect. “Mental toughness ang kailangan namin para sa laro na iyon(Mental toughness is key for winning the game),” he said.
On the other hand, the Red Lions will miss the services of Robert Bolick, the hero of the NCAA Finals where they brought the Pirates’ 18-0 elimination round record down the drain and won the championship, due to a minor knee injury he suffered during their game against the De La Salle Green Archers on Sunday.
“Medyo okay na siya hindi kagaya dati na hindi ko ma-bend, pero hindi ako aabot sa Thursday (I feel better unlike before when I could not bend it, but still I won’t make it to Thursday’s game),” Bolick bared the status of his injury. “Isa ako sa mga leader sa team pero hindi makakalaro, [kaya] medyo frustrated (I’m one of the team’s leaders but I won’t get to play so that’s quite frustrating).”
But he believes, “Kayang-kaya namin yan. Basta stick together lang at gawin naming pinapagawa ni Coach [Boyet Fernandez]. Kaya namin ‘yan, tiwala naman ako sa kanila. May magste-step-up din, I’m sure (We can do it as long as we stick together and do what coach tells us to do. I trust my teammates and I’m sure someone would step up during the game).”
Perez, on the other hand, vowed, “Bibigyan namin yung best para makuha naming ‘yung championship sa PCCL. Magandang opportunitysa amin iyon para makapag-champion din (We’ll do our best to get the PCCL championship. It’s a good opportunity for us to get a championship).”