Red Lions coach Boyet Fernandez gets a victory lift after the Lions completed a sweep of the Lyceum Pirates to keep the NCAA cage crown Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Joey Mendoza
MANILA, Philippines — The morning after San Beda pulled off a sweep in reverse over Lyceum to keep the NCAA men’s basketball crown, coach Boyet Fernandez exhorted his players to shift their focus to the other “championship” – academics.
With the exam week set in the first week of December in Mendiola, Fernandez stressed the need for his wards to double their effort and try to catch up in their respective classes.
“My next order of battle is checking on the players on how they are doing on their studies because we’ve been focusing on basketball the last three weeks,” said Fernandez a day after steering the Lions to their ninth crown in the last 11 seasons and a league-best 21st overall with a 2-0 sweep of their best-of-three series with the Pirates.
A registered nurse, Fernandez said academics, like basketball, would be the other “championship” his players should be striving for.
“We all know that you can’t play basketball forever and I want my players to have a life in case they stop playing,” said Fernandez.
In fact, the Lions, according to Fernandez, might skip the PBA D-League in January to give his players more time to focus on their studies, also a requirement for a player to be included in the team pool.
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“It’s a possibility because in the NCAA, you have to pass the second semester to get to play next season and if they couldn’t pass it, they couldn’t play,” said Fernandez. “But it will depend on boss MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) if he wants us to play.”
In case they get to participate in the D-League, Fernandez wants to field in a school-based team so he could synchronize it with the Lions’ training and academic schedules.
He also expressed his concerns over fellow NCAA schools like LPU, Jose Rizal, St. Benilde and Perpetual Help that are going to field in teams in the D-League.
“I just don’t want to be left behind. Also, Bolick and (Javee) Mocon improved a lot by playing in the D-League,” he said.
San Beda is also scheduled to see action in the Champions’ League, a tournament among the country’s collegiate champions, which will be revived next year.
“It will be a good tournament for us,” he said.
But after besting the elims in the just- concluded NCAA Finals, Fernandez said it would be better for his wards to concentrate first on their upcoming exam before going back to the drawing board.