Friday, August 5, 2011


History Lesson:
Lyceum is a guest team, and so have no real history with the Letran Knights yet.

LPU Storyline : The Pirates have been on an emotional rollercoaster, going through the highs and lows of winning, losing, then winning again, and so on. Save for a fluke loss to EAC, they've generally handled the lower tier teams well, while (obviously) struggling badly against SBC and SSC-R. How then will they fare against Letran, which is not really in the highest level as San Beda and San Sebastian, and yet, is a cut above teams like JRU and CSB? Lyceum will be coming off a week-long break though, so at the very least, they should be well-versed in breaking the Knights' press.
Stat to Watch : When Chris Cayabyab and Floricel Guevarra are making long-distance connections, the Pirates get rolling. In wins, they shoot 34.52% from downtown, making on average, 7.25 treys. In losses, that percentage drops all the way to 23.44%, making just 5 triples in the losses. Letran allows 27.38% in their games, third-worst in the league, which means the Knights will have to survive a barrage or two from downtown...
Player to Watch : Before his wrist injury, Shane Ko played two games for the Pirates and averaged 6 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in 26.5 minutes. Ko was just average in his return, no doubt needing to rediscover his role on the team as Dexter Zamora and Tirso Lesmoras have had some success with him gone, but that's the beauty of their week-long break. A reintegrated Ko could be a huge boost to this squad.

CSJL Storyline : As powerful as the Knights have looked in certain games, they looked ordinary against San Sebastian and San Beda, the presumptive top two teams in the NCAA. With the height of Jonathan Belorio and Jam Cortes neutralized, Letran often struggled down low, forcing them to rely heavily on their shooters, who had trouble scoring without getting open looks from the doubles attracted by their bigs. And since they had trouble scoring, they had trouble setting up their pressure defense as well, as one problem literally led to another! But with all that said, LPU does not have the same quality of big men to match up with Letran and will most likely be bothered more by the Letran press. Repeat: Lyceum is nowhere in the neighborhood of SBC and SSCR.
Stat to Watch : When not being bothered by big men taller than they are, Letran actually is a pretty good rebounding team, getting 23.5 offensive rebounds on average which they turn into a league-high 13 second chance points. With only Allan Santos as a threat to contest rebounds, the Knights could dominate that statistic without too much problem.
Player to Watch : Raymond Almazan has quietly put up some huge numbers, including an eye-popping average of 5 offensive rebounds a game. He also blocks 2.8 shots a game, while avoiding foul trouble, with just 2.3 whistles on average. He's taller than anyone LPU has, so the center battle should in theory go to Letran.

Prediction: CSJL Knights

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