THE pain of losing in the last NCAA finals still haunts San Beda University coach Boyet Fernandez and his players.
“We are still feeling the pain of losing the crown but everyone is very positive and everyone is looking forward to regaining the crown we lost,” Fernandez told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.
“We know it will be tough. Kailangan naming pagtrabahuhan,” he added.
San Beda, bidding for its 12th title in 14 years and 23rd overall last year, looked on their way to a four-peat after sweeping the eliminations with an 18-0 record and advanced to the Big Dance outright but was foiled by an all-Filipino Letran side in the finals that went the distance.
The Mendiola-based squad will no longer have 6-foot-5 Cameroonian big man Donald Tankoua, Clint Doliguez, and AC Soberano, who have all used up their playing years in the 96th NCAA basketball tournament set to kick off in July.
San Beda will pin its hopes on reigning MVP Calvin Oftana and the deadly backcourt duo of James Canlas and Evan Nelle.
“I expect a lot from both of them (Canlas and Nelle), together with Calvin (Oftana), JB (Bahio), Damie (Cuntapay), and Kemark (Cariño) as they are the seniors now,” said Fernandez. – Michael Jugado