FilOil title would be a huge boost for San Beda, says Anthony Semerad
MANILA, Philippines – The 2014 FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup playoffs have been a tale of two episodes for Anthony Semerad.
In San Beda’s tightly-fought victory over the NU Bulldogs in the quarterfinals, Semerad exploded for 18 in the second half, making National University pay for leaving him wide open countless times in the perimeter.
Shot after shot, Anthony put an end to the Bulldogs’ aspirations of advancing. He also got a significant rebound late in the game when Beda’s adversaries looked to make a late push, and he converted a critical free throw that gave his squad some leeway, which helped ensure victory.
“Just everyday, I’ve been taking extra shots after practice and before,” Semerad mentioned in an exclusive interview after the game. “Two hundred to 250. And I’ve been shooting during practice, so 300 to 350 a day.”
However, the tables were reversed in the Red Lions’ close win over the erstwhile-unbeaten CEU Scorpions, 63-62, as Semerad failed to make an impact and recorded only four points in 23 minutes. He was 2-of-8 total from the field, and missed both of his long-range attempts.
Obviously, the Scorpions learned about Semerad’s explosion against the Bulldogs, and made it a point to not give him any breathing room. San Beda still won thanks to the play of Oda Adeogun, and some late-game luck as CEU failed to hit potential game-winners.
Nonetheless, Semerad isn’t discouraged. He owes that to his coach who has never failed to give him support, and because he knows where his true calling is.
“It’s my number one thing. I take defense first and the rest come. It’s my priority now,” the popular San Beda player expressed about his willingness to stop the opposition from scoring.
He also discussed how his mentor, Boyet Fernandez, has improved his game and the quality of play of the entire team.
“Yeah, he’s just been pushing us, telling us to keep working hard. He’s been inspiring us, so I just get up and work every day.”
“Actually, sobrang mabait (he’s really nice). I feel very confident. Yun lang (that’s it), he’s a great coach. He knows what he’s doing and he’s on point.”
Tomorrow, June 8, San Beda will need both Semerad’s defensive tenacity and his prowess on offense, as the club looks to win the FilOil title by taking down the De La Salle Green Archers.
A battle between the reigning champions of the UAAP and NCAA. And it’s likely that Semerad, the designated defensive stopper of the guys in red and white, will be given the assignment of trying to contain reigning Finals MVP Jeron Teng.
“I’m sure coach will be preparing us well,” Anthony says of the matchup. He also talked about how a win over the Taft-based squad would enlighten the morale of his club as they look to defend their title in Season 90.
“I guess it will be a good confident booster for us. Of course, with the other NCAA teams knowing we beat all the UAAP teams, it will be a good push for us. A good head start.”
The Green Archers and Red Lions last faced in an exhibition match in December with the game finishing in a draw, 74-74. Not long prior, DLSU beat San Beda, 64-60, in the semis of the 2013 Philippine Collegiate Champions League to book a ticket to the finals.
Rewind the calendar back further, and you’ll see that Beda was the last team to beat La Salle in the 2013 FilOil tournament, 66-63, after the latter led by 10, 63-53, with 3:57 to go in the fourth quarter.
Some have said that this matchup will serve as the decider between both clubs. If that’s the case, Semerad isn’t intimidated by facing the Green Archers – or whoever stands in the Red Lions’ way, for that matter.
“It doesn’t matter. We’re ready. Any team, bring it on.” – Rappler.com