WITH Game 3 moved a day later to Sunday, defending champion Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles and challenger University of the Visayas Baby Lancers are both upbeat about their chances in the 2017 SM-National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) Cebu Division 1 , at the Lapu-Lapu City Hoops Dome at 2:30 p.m.
“We have to focus on our rebounding, because in our last two games, we were out-rebounded by UV. And also, we have to stay focused on the game. We need to play as a team and we will continue to remind them (the players) that basketball is a game of four quarters. We cannot play for only 20 minutes,” SHS-AdC coach Francis Auquico told SunStar Cebu.
SHS-AdC was leading in the first half in both games but lost to UV, 82-80, in Game 1. In Game 2, Ateneo also had the lead lead before losing it anew, only to regain composure in the final minutes to even the series, 65-62.
“We need to be consistent in our defense. We need to contain SHS-AdC early and clip the production of their shooters. We won (Game 1) because we played good defense. Our defense in Game 2 was also holding, but it was our turnovers in the final minutes that lost us the game. So we need to be consistent and must not let their game control us,” UV coach Delfin Pepito Jr. said.
UV will be playing without Justin Jake Rosete, who was dismissed by team manager Samsam Gullas from the team. Rosete’s departure means Pepito will have to look for other options to make up for the 14.0 points Rosete averaged in the first two games.
On the other hand, the rest of the Baby Lancers also refused to be affected by the loss of Rosete and will not slow down as they want to avenge all their losses to SHS-AdC and fulfill their dream to play at the MOA.
Meanwhile, NBTC is expected to release its response of the complaint sent by Yvonne Velasco, the mother of Andrew Velasco of SHS-AdC, who received an unsportsmanlike foul from Rosete in Game 2. Velasco questioned the conduct of coach Pepito, whom she accused of ordering the UV player to punch her son.
Pepito denied the allegation.
NBTC Cebu Division 1 commissioner Al Solis said that the decision will come from the NBTC national office, which he said has the authority in resolving controversial cases.