The Cardinals found the Generals easy prey last season, beating them handily in both rounds, 82-68 and 74-65. The two teams also met each other in the Fil-Oil Preseason Tournament, with the Cardinals also coming out on top, 88-74, behind a double-double performance by Yousef Taha, 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Stat to Watch : The Generals were able to contain Lyceum from beyond the arc, holding them to just 1 of 22 from beyond the arc. That perimeter defense ought to come in handy against Mapua, who are second in the league in three-pointers made per game with 5.8 triples.
Player to Watch : EAC will turn to rookie Jolas Paguia to fill in Cubo's minutes, though aside from their height, the two play different games, with Cubo more of an inside presence compared to the former Baby Tam's perimeter game. But while he had an impressive 22 point, 9 rebound debut versus Arellano, his output has dropped sharply in succeeding games, as have his minutes. He will get the opportunity again to contribute, but what he does with that opportunity is not so certain.
Stat to Watch : The Cards find themselves outscored in the final period by a total of 83-48. No other stat means anything, aside from that one. When the fourth quarter rolls around, the Cardinals need to just take the ball strong to the rim and draw fouls. No more tentative ball movement that leads to 24 second shot clock violations, no more launching triples 4 feet away from three-point arc, just put your head down and drive.
Player to Watch : Josan Nimes started out the first half strong versus JRU, dropping 19 points on them in a variety of ways, but it turned out that all his shooting had left him nothing in the tank for the second half, as the rookie from the USA finished with 0 points from halftime onward. Nimes is a notorious streak shooter, that's why it's important that he's hot going into the fourth, so that at least one guy isn't afraid to try to put the team on his back if needed.
Prediction: MIT Cardinals