Tuesday, July 26, 2011


History Lesson:
The Letran Knights beat out the St. Benilde Blazers twice last season, but in contrasting styles. Their first encounter was a 74-50 affair that saw Letran use a 21-9 third quarter to put away CSB, combined with a 12-2 advantage in second chance points. Round two was much different, as the Blazers stuck close all throughout the game, but Kevin Alas was clutch at the end, finding Jam Cortes for an and-one play that won the game for them, 72-69.

Letran Storyline : The Knights picked up loss #1 in Season 87 as they couldn't execute and score properly once Kevin Alas fouled out. Prior to that happening, the Knights had actually stayed in step with the Stags, overturning a huge deficit nearly all of the way, getting to within three points with 7:48 left. That actually bodes well for this team, considering that they weren't able to gain an edge in turnover or fastbreak points, normally their main source of scoring.
Stat to Watch : The Knights were impressive on the glass, as the troika of Jonathan Belorio, Jam Cortes and Raymond Almazan outplayed the bigger San Sebastian team. All in all, Letran got 60 rebounds, 33 on the offensive end. Playing a Benilde team that's roughly the same height, the Knights ought to have the advantage on the boards, if they play like they did against the Stags.
Player to Watch : Jam Cortes is one of the best power forwards in the league, despite lacking a height advantage to fall back on. Currently averaging 10 points and 11 rebounds, Cortes ought to dominate his match-up against whichever CSB big they field against him, be it Jan Tan, Ian Dela Paz or Tim McCoy, due to experience weighing heavily in his favor.

Benilde Storyline : "So close and yet so far" has to be what the Blazers have in their minds going on loop right now, though they'll try their best to put the 79-78 loss to SBC on the backburner. What's most frustrating is probably how well the team executed down the stretch, something they had been lacking in prior games, save for their one win against the Cardinals. With all of that, there's some questions as to how the Blazers will come out for this game. Will they have the same intensity they confronted SBC with? Or will they be in a funk, and watch Letran run all over them? 
Stat to Watch : Benilde totaled just 16 turnovers against San Beda, a large reason why the Red Lions weren't able to get their running game going when points were becoming hard to get by. If the ballhandlers like Luis Sinco, Carlo Lastimosa and Anton Altamirano can survive the press, odds are good that the Blazers can pull this upset off.
Player to Watch : Tim McCoy started the season slow, but his game has been ramping up as of late, culminating with an 8 point, 7 rebound performance against the Red Lions frontline in 30 minutes of play. Though the opposition will be smaller when they face Letran, they'll be no less potent in the post, so McCoy will have his work cut out for him still.

Prediction: CSJL Knights

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