Host San Beda continued its early rampage in the 92nd NCAA seniors basketball tournament after overcoming its biggest adversity yet with the Red Lions moving closer towards a possible nine-game sweep of the first round.
But prized rookie Davon Potts believes the Red Lions still have no reason to rest on their laurels, knowing the job is far from done.
“It’s big but we’re not satisfied,” said the 6-foot-2 Potts following San Beda’s impressive come-from-behind 101-86 victory over top title contender Arellano U on Friday, stretching its winning streak to six.
“We know that we have to produce more moving forward and we’ll take it one step at a time,” he added. “As long as we do that we’ll be productive as a team.”
The Red Lions, despite trailing by as many as 22 points in the first half, stuck together and unleashed their full might after the turn, with Potts and Cameroonian import Donald Tankoua leading the way.
The 6-foot-7 Tankoua provided the presence down low, coming through with 28 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks, most of them coming in their strong third-quarter fightback, before Potts delivered the killer blows, firing away 11 of his career-high 31 markers in the final frame, nine of them during their blinding closeout.
“We just flipped the switch,” said the former Cal State-Los Angeles stalwart. “Honestly, we didn’t look at the score. I knew we were down by a lot (at halftime) but we dug deep. Our team fights and all of my teammates are fighters. We have heart.”
Aside from making his presence felt offensively, Potts also did a commendable job on helping slow down Arellano U’s top playmaker Jiovani Jalalon, who finished with a team-high 25 points but could only score three in the final frame.
“Jiovani is the best point guard in the league. We all know that. I knew it was a challenge and it wasn’t only me guarding Jio,” he said, referring to his fellow Red Lions Jomari Presbiterio and Radge Tongco. “We had to make sure we limit his production on the floor. And as I’ve said, whatever it takes to win, the sacrifices, those what it takes to win.”
Humbled in victory, Potts also tipped his hat to the Chiefs, who got off to a ferocious start and even built what seemed to be a commanding 36-14 lead.
“Give a lot of credit to Arellano, they fought hard,” he said.
But Potts was just very pleased with how they pulled it off.
“It was hard. It was very hard,” he said, still huffing and puffing. “We started off slow. But I saw all of my teammates’ faces at halftime that as long as we have each other, we stay strong. We honestly disregarded the score at halftime and we just pulled through.
“This is really a team effort. At the end of the day, we win as a team. and that’s all that matters,” he concluded. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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