For the third time in four years, bitter rivals San Beda and Letran will be clashing for all the marbles in game three of an epic finals encounter between the two squads today at the Mall of Asia Arena.
It has been a dramatic series filled with tension both inside and outside the court – with the crowd being involved in several occasions to add up spice to the already heated encounter between the two teams.
In the first game, a Bedan heckler was rushed by several supporters of Letran near the end of the match after he was seen exchanging words with Kevin Racal.
It was almost the same scenario in the second game when diminutive guard Mark Cruz had to be restrained by head coach Aldin Ayo after another fan reportedly shouted words that can’t be published at him after the game.
But that is all behind them now as these two teams are expected to leave it all out on the court once the game is called into action at 4 p.m., the rivals’ sixth meeting for the year.
For coach Jamike Jarin, it’s certainly going to be a game to remember for both squads.
After being outcoached by Ayo in their 94-90 first game loss, Jarin and the Red Lions came out with a better sense of urgency as they eked out a critical 68-61 victory to tie the series.
Finding big games from Jayvee Mocon, Art dela Cruz and Baser Amer, the Red Lions are back into familiar position as they once again moved a game away from winning the title, their sixth straight and ninth in 10 years.
“Every basketball player should experience a rubber match. Rubber matches like these, these are historic. Whether you lose or win, you’re part of this. Maalala ka e,” Jarin added.
Despite the loss, Ayo remained optimistic especially after seeing his squad play the game at their pace and disrupt San Beda’s offense anew.
“We lost but I’m very optimistic. Kasi andun yung effort e. 32 turnovers sila, 11 lang kami. Bottom line ang basketball kung sino pinakamaraming puntos sila ang panalo eh, di lang kami nakashoot e. Good looks naman e. Hindi lang talaga pumapasok,” Ayo said.