Thursday, September 8, 2011


History Lesson:
The feisty Pirates hadn't led since the four minute mark of the first quarter, but that didn't stop them from unleashing a huge run that saw them start the fourth period down 64-48 to leading at 77-74. A drive and dish play by Kevin Alas to VJ Espiritu knotted things up with 38 seconds remaining, but neither side was able to pull ahead in the remaining time, necessitating overtime. There it seemed like Lyceum was outmatched by Letran, as Chris Cayabyab and Vence Laude were already riding the pine due to foul trouble, but Floricel Guevarra was still on the court, and his triple along with a split by Arwin Azores got them within three, with a chance to force a second overtime after Allan Santos came up with a steal. Unfortunately, by then their luck had run out, as Zamora's triple missed, and two more charities by Azores on the offensive rebound were not enough, allowing the Knights to escape with the 92-89 overtime win. (Recap here)

What's at Stake:
  • In a rut, or a "two game losing streak" to be more precise, the 5-7 Lyceum Pirates get an opportunity to make up some ground today, first by slapping loss #3 on Letran, and second, by moving to within a half game of the current #4 Mapua, should they win.
  • Letran is on a six-game roll, padding their record to 10-2 after ending Mapua's four-game streak. With their goal to upset either San Beda or San Sebastian, the Knights will want to keep their record pristine at that point, as well as keep increasing the separation between them and the gaggle of teams wanting to become #4. 

LPU Stat to Watch : Despite having the smaller team and giving up more rebounds, 59-45 total, 33-19 on the offensive glass, the feistier Lyceum Pirates got 15 to 6 advantage in second-chance points. That's the sort of thing they'll need to do again to keep this rematch close.
LPU Player to Watch : Allan Santos has been the missing ingredient for this team, as the last time he scored in double-figures was against this Letran team in round one. Things hit their nadir in their last game versus Perpetual Help when Santos played just four minutes, despite hauling down 14 rebounds in that span. They'll need him to go toe to toe with guys like Raymond Almazan and Jam Cortes because Onofore Napiza and Azores simply can't get it done.

CSJL Stat to Watch : Letran attempted a season-low seven triples in their first game versus Lyceum, but made three of them, at moments when they really needed them. But with the Pirates defense likely keying in on the big men and Kevin Alas, guys like Marvin Cruz, VJ Espiritu and Kevin Racal are likely to be wide open. If they can hit open triples, it'll be a pick your poison situation for Lyceum.
CSJL Player to Watch : Raymond Almazan has surprisingly failed to finish with double-digit rebounding in any of the team's three second round encounters, norming just eight. With the tiny big men of Lyceum matched up against him, that streak ought to end after this game. He had 13 in their first encounter, along with four blocks.

Prediction: CSJL Knights

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