Tuesday, August 23, 2011


History Lesson:
The Letran Knights used a 24-8 second quarter to jump ahead of the Arellano Chiefs for good, accounting for the game's one and only lead change, taking control from that point forward and earning an 88-70 win. Five Knights scored in double-figures, led by Jam Cortes who had 16. Solid fundamentals helped the Knights earn the victory, as they tallied a 49 to 33 rebounding advantage, and posted 20 assists. It was more than enough to handle last season's Mythical Five selection Andrian Celada, who finished with 22 points. (Recap here)

What's at Stake:

  • The goal for the 7-2 Letran Knights in the second round is two-fold: keep in step with San Sebastian and San Beda, and when the time comes, beat them to move on up. In order to do that though, they can't be caught unawares by lesser teams like Arellano, which could use a nice upset win to vault up the standings.
  • Knotted at 3-6 with the Mapua Cardinals and the JRU Heavy Bombers, the Arellano Chiefs want big wins against the teams ahead, especially those up there in the standings, but getting them won't be so easy, as the previously 3-6 EAC showed, when they were beaten down by the San Sebastian Stags.

CSJL Stat to Watch : The Knights lead the league in offensive rebounds and second-chance points in such a big way that it's probably not even funny. They're the only team with offensive rebounds in the 20's range with 25.11, with they use with good effect to get 12.67 second-chance points. As we know, Arellano relies heavily on a zone, and teams have a tendency to give up offensive rebounds while in a zone. That means, second, third, even fourth chances on single possessions would not be out of the ordinary in this game.
CSJL Player to Watch : The player behind all these offensive rebounds happens to be number three right now in the MVP race, 6'7" center Raymond Almazan. Letran's starting center averages 10.8 rebounds a game, 5.8 on the offensive end, often the source for his 8.4 points a game. He also happens to swat 3.4 shots a game. Unless the Chiefs decide to keep a guy on him at all times, expect Almazan to be the beneficiary of Arellano's 2-3 zone.

AU Stat to Watch : In recent games, the Chiefs have worked to balance out their scoring between the starters and the bench, moving Mark Doligon to the starting line-up and bumping Vergel Zulueta and Gerald Lapuz to the reserves, among other moves. So far it's worked, going from a 62-11 split in the first seven games, to a 39.5-28 mix. That at least means there will always be some scoring pressure on the floor, without Coach Isaac exhausting his starters.
AU Player to Watch : Prince Caperal's numbers have been in flux all season, despite keeping a solid hold on the starting center job. He's had highs of 17 points and 10 rebounds, as well as lows of 0 points and three boards, making him difficult to figure out. Caperal is the best player they can put on Almazan, and they'll need his height to fight for rebounds. If he pulls another disappearing act though, the Chiefs will be sunk.

Prediction: CSJL Knights

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