Friday, September 2, 2011


History Lesson:
The Lyceum Pirates came back late in this game, turning a 57-51 deficit into a 75-70 lead late as Chris Cayabyab was his usual clutch self. Jason Pascual tried to lead a counter-rally, drawing within two points on a triple of his own, 75-73 but that was all she wrote for the Cardinals, as this season's guest team was able to overturn a lead that was as high as 13 in the second period. Floricel Guevarra's 23 points outdueled Allan Mangahas' 21, as the shifty veteran point guard found himself inexplicably benched late in the game. (Recap here)

What's at Stake:
  • Starting 0-4, the Mapua Cardinals have rallied to 5-6, with an eye to finally meeting some heavy preseason expectations by wrenching the fourth spot away from the upstart Lyceum Pirates. Even better would be a big, convincing win, as they've gotten by lately on skin of your teeth victories, and against some fairly pedestrian teams to boot (just a three-point win versus the Altas?)
  • The 5-5 Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates have held on to the fourth spot in the standings for quite some time now, but this game against Mapua stands out as their first real defense of their position, and a loss would drop them out of the top four. Winning this game would not only help them keep their spot in the standings, it would also send out a message to the rest of the league that they are for real.

MIT Stat to Watch : Mapua has lost three games by three or less points, and has won three games by the same margin. Save for a few bounces of the ball, they could be 8-3 right now, or as low as 2-9, which says something about the tenuous status of the Cardinals right now. With Floricel Guevarra out of the Lyceum line-up, this is the perfect time for Mapua to exert some dominance and beat down on the undermanned team.
MIT Player to Watch : Part of the reason for Mapua's current 3-game streak has been the superb scoring of rookie Josan Nimes, who averaged 22.33 points on 60 percent shooting, five rebounds and 2.67 assists. If Kenneth Ighalo continues to be sidelined with an injury, Nimes might see some time guarding Cayabyab, which would be a great match to follow. 

LPU Stat to Watch : For all their grit, the Pirates play a bit out of control, ruining their offensive flow and giving opponents easy points. They average 22.8 turnovers a game, a league-high, and surrender 19.9 turnover points as a result. Luckily for them, Mapua barely brings any pressure, averaging the fewest forced turnovers, 15.91. With Guevarra out, the Pirates cannot afford to give up easy points as they may not be able to score enough to make up the difference.
LPU Player to Watch : With Floricel Guevarra suspended due to being ejected for accumulating two flagrant fouls in their last game, a lot of the scoring will have to come from Chris Cayabyab, who should expect to be a marked man from the opening tip. He's been averaging 23 points, three triples on 37.5 percent downtown shooting, 6.67 rebounds and 1.67 assists since his only single-digit scoring output game of the season versus San Sebastian, so the question becomes, will that be enough to carry his team to a win?

Prediction: MIT Cardinals

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