This will be the first time the Mapua Cardinals take on the guest-team Lyceum Pirates
Stat to Watch : An over-reliance on the three-point shot was what stopped Mapua from being a contender in previous seasons. Adding Yousef Taha was supposed to curb that, but with his suspension, the Cardinals reverted to old form, walking right into Benilde's zone and hoisting up 41 triple attempts, making just 8 of them. Against Letran they were 3 out of 11 from downtown, but foul trouble permitting, I'd love for them to just dump it down low to Taha on every possession, given the Pirates' lack of height.
Player to Watch : Kenneth Ighalo had a nice offensive game, scoring 12 on 5 of 7 shooting, with 5 rebounds and 2 assists in 26 minutes. Though he's known more as a stopper, Ighalo might actually be this squad's best defender, as his athleticism allows him to stay in front of his man. Putting him up against Chris Cayabyab might be in Mapua's best interest as Cayabyab leads the Pirates in scoring.
Stat to Watch : The Pirates' lack of height means they struggle against big (EAC's Claude Cubo), especially athletic big men (CSB's Mark Romero, SBC's Kyle Pascual). For all of Allan Santos' great numbers, he can't be everywhere, and these guys often have at least 2 inches on him. With the Cardinals most likely going to feature Yousef Taha, plus guys like Mike Parala and Mark Sarangay in reserve, the number of points and rebounds the Pirates concede will most likely decide this game.
Player to Watch : Floricel Guevarra has been the Robin to Chris Cayabyab's Batman, averaging 11 points a game. With the Cardinals probably out to stop Cayabyab, that might mean more looks for Guevarra, and he'll have to knock them down, especially since this game project to be about offense, rather than defense.
Prediction: MIT Cardinals