One would think that possessing four or so players standing 6'5" or taller would give you an advantage over the smallest team in the league. Think again, as the Mapua Cardinals were content to bomb away against the 2-3 zone of Perpetual Help, as the two squads combined to go 16 of 53 from outside the arc. Though the Altas led early, as the Cardinals' triples weren't falling, Rodel Ranises and Jonathan Banal found their range late, crafting a 10-point, 57-47 lead in the final period that looked unbeatable, until Perpetual Help nearly did just that. In the end, it came down to a triple, as Perpetual Help's Jett Vidal missed a triple that he had to double clutch at the buzzer, allowing Mapua to escape, 65-63. (Recap here)
What's at Stake:
- The one-time cellar dwelling Mapua Cardinals find themselves in solo fifth place with a 4-6 record, behind the 5-5 Lyceum Pirates, their second round win against the CSB Blazers helping to knock that team down the standings. A win here allows them to move up to just a half game behind for fourth, allowing them fulfill preseason expectations.
- The 2-9 Perpetual Help Altas are happy playing spoiler, and are in fact a team Mapua should thank for playing a role in the slump the Blazers are currently embroiled in. They most likely have no problem doing the same thing to the Cardinals though, especially considering how they came really close in round one.
MIT Player to Watch : Who would have thought before the season that Josan Nimes would be having a better rookie season than Yousef Taha? Probably no one, but Nimes just posted back to back 20+ point games, as the only Cardinal willing to drive into the lane and head to the line. He's a mismatch waiting to happen given his height and shooting ability, something that will come in handy against the tiny Altas team.
UPHSD Player to Watch : A healthy George Allen equals a tougher Altas team, as the multi-talented forward averages 10.67 points while shooting 36 percent from downtown, 41 percent overall, plus he grabs 6.33 rebounds a game. He could provide that extra push to put Perpetual Help over the top after the close nature of the first game between these two teams.
EDIT: Forgot to add a prediction!