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.
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.
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