San Beda University finally got its long-awaited revenge against Mapua University.
Last season, the Red Lions’ 15-year streak of going to the NCAA finals was cut after suffering a 67-70 loss against the Cardinals in the final four of Season 97.
But this time, San Beda returned the favor, sending Mapua home following a 71-63 beatdown to crush the latter’s hopes of getting back to the big stage of the Grand Old League.
“Mapua was the one who eliminated them last season so hindi ko na sinabi sa kanila eh,” said the first year Red Lions tactician.
“Sila na lang mismo ang nag-motivate sa kanila and it’s an opportunity for them to get the win and bonus na lang siguro ‘yung Mapua ‘yung natalo nila and na-eliminate pa nila ‘yung Mapua.”
Escueta revealed that the squad also found extra motivation in today’s game after suffering an elimination sweep last game against Lyceum of the Philippines University — their first against the Pirates since Season 93.
“Yung demeanor namin after that game was really down eh, you can sense it in the dugout and even in the practice that day. Ang sama talaga kasi we’re up by eight in the final four minutes but natalo pa kami. Sabi ko sa kanila, I’m still confident sa kanila. I just made sure they know how confident the coaching staff is of them and how they should feel confident with themselves and their teammates,” said Escueta.
This wasn’t the first time the Red Lions and the Cardinals locked heads since their Final Four affair.
Unfortunately for them, the win was later forfeited and was awarded to San Beda due to Gab Gamboa’s eligibility issues.
That is why after this game, James Kwekuteye was just glad that they finally got the win convincingly — after all, he was the one who experienced that heartbreak of loss firsthand back in May.
“This game means a lot to us because they beat us in the Final Four last season and our first game against them so this game is basically a revenge game,” said Kwekuteye who finished with a game-high 25 points.
“We want them not to make it to the Final Four but no disrespect to them.”