Sunday, July 31, 2011


History Lesson:
In a series between two storied NCAA schools with a history for winning, it was San Beda that did all of that last season, beating Letran in both encounters by fairly large margins. In the first round, the backcourt of Garvo Lanete and Borgie Hermida combined for 38 points to dispatch Letran 77-60, as only Franz Dysam managed to finish in double-digit scoring for the Knights, with 11 points. The second round meeting was pretty similar, only this time it was Rome Dela Rosa providing the firepower, scoring 19, with Sudan Daniel and Jake Pascual helping out with some muscle down low. Kevin Alas led the Knights with 18 points, but his 9 turnovers helped the Red Lions establish a 23-14 advantage in turnover points, helping San Beda score 74, to just 56 by Letran.

SBC Storyline : The Red Lions have cleared their schedule of all the lightweights, leaving Letran, JRU, Mapua and San Sebastian on their first round "to beat" list. Save for the St. Benilde game, San Beda was barely challenged, and so a mindset change might be necessary for the defending champions, as coach Frankie Lim said after their beatdown of EAC. The time for "polishing" their game is over, now they have to go out and show they can beat the other top teams in the NCAA without Su Daniel.
Stat to Watch : As described by Coach Lim himself, San Beda basketball boils down to two things: turnover points and fastbreak points. The Red Lions are second only to JRU in the first, with 20.6 a game (to 21.2 for the Heavy Bombers), and lead the latter, averaging 21.2, the only team with a 20 point average in that category.
Player to Watch : Dave Marcelo hasn't had a dominating double-double performance yet, as the Red Lions split minutes at the center and power forward positions between five players, but odds are, he'll get a nice long stint matched up against either Raymond Almazan or Jam Cortes. Marcelo's averaged just 8.2 points and 8.8 rebounds, but it'll be his blocks that will make things interesting. He currently averages 2.2 swats a game.

CSJL Storyline : The Knights figured in a bizarre 112-91 game against the St. Benilde Blazers, two teams not normally known for putting a ton of points on the board. But as head coach Louie Alas said after the game, "We can't defend that way against San Beda." So for this game, it'll be back to basics for the Knights: pressure defense to get points through turnovers, coupled with strong rebounding. With their 4-1 record, Letran looks like an early favorite for a Final Four spot, but they need to show that they have a chance against San Beda and San Sebastian, whom they already lost to, in order to give their team a morale boost, headed into the second round.  There's a strong possibility that they'll have to go out and play without reserve forward Junjun Alas though, due to his ejection versus Benilde. That makes it critical for the big men to avoid useless fouls.
Stat to Watch : For all of San Beda's brilliance in turnover and fastbreak points, Letran is no slouch in those two fields either. They're third in turnover points with 18.4, and second in fastbreak points with 10.67. We could be in for a very fast-paced game if both teams get to do what they want to do. That said, the prudent thing for Letran to do might be just to ape what Saint Benilde did in their near-win, playing good zone defense, while tracking down the rebounds to run them back at San Beda.
Player to Watch : Kevin Alas will need a standout game, not just in pure numbers (he averages 15.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2 steals), but in efficiency as well (42% from the field and 3.2 turnovers a game). By himself, he cannot defeat San Beda, and if he commits a ton of errors, the Red Lions will take advantage of it and pressure him all day. Team basketball will be needed to dethrone the defending champs, and Alas will need to buy into that concept if they're going to win.

Prediction: SBC Red Lions

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