Metropac-San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez said that their long flight home all the way from Las Vegas is not to blame for their loss to St. Clare College-Virtual Reality in the 2019 PBA D-League quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Fernandez and the Red Lions had a two-week trip to Joe Abunassar’s Impact Center as part of their preparations for July’s NCAA Season 95. They landed back home at 4:00 am also of Tuesday – around 12 hours prior to their match versus the Saints.
“Medyo mabigat yung mga paa pero it’s not a reason for us na ganun eh,” said Fernandez after their 60-65 defeat.
“Kasi if we always do that, baka masanay.”
The Movers had a chance when they rallied back and inched within two, 57-59, after Evan Nelle canned both of his freebies. But Joshua Fontanilla took charge for the Saints afterward to oust Metropac and book the semis ticket.
The loss also stung for Fernandez himself, since this will be the first time that he won’t make it to the Finals in the 10 conferences he has participated. Fernandez has the most D-League titles as a coach with eight.
But that streak is the least of his concerns. For Fernandez, what he’s really after is the growth of his Red Lions, whom he calls a very young unit.
“Records are records pero hindi ko naman pinansin talaga yun eh.
“Ang sa akin talaga ay kung paano kami magi-improve as a team. Batang-bata pa talaga ang team na ‘to,” said the 47-year-old bench strategist.
With a D-League campaign in the books, Fernandez hopes that his young wards have gained experience. He cited losses such as their 96-92 double OT loss to Valencia-San Sebastian College as one of the things that will definitely help them grow.
“Yun lang yung pinaka-masakit na talo namin sa Baste, na double overtime and we were up by twenty-points, dun napasama. Yung talo talaga sa Baste bit us kasi it brought us down to number three. Kung nanalo kami nun baka siguro mas maganda na kahit [natalo] kami ngayong gabi (versus St. Clare), baka may advantage pa rin kami at makakalaro pa kami next game,” said the seven-time D-League champion coach.
“Pero siyempre that’s water under the bridge na. Sabi ko nga matuto tayo dun sa sitwasyon na ‘to, na yung nangyari sa Baste, sa Marinero[ng Pilipono] tsaka sa ngayon, sana mas maging preparado kami lalo for the NCAA.”
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