Thursday, September 29, 2011


History Lesson:
Kevin Alas nearly engineered a comeback for the Letran Knights, as twin buckets had them within three points, 51-48. That was far as they would go though, as the San Sebastian Stags went to their main man Calvin Abueva to halt the bleeding. "The Beast" delivered with an and-one play, and then Ronald Pascual added to the tally, making it 56-48 in a blink of an eye. They could have padded it further, with an outlet pass going Abueva's way, but Alas was there to give up the foul. Unfortunately, that happened to be his fifth personal, and with him out, the Knights gasped one last breath, in the form of Mark Cruz and Kevin Racal scores, before finally collapsing under the Stags' offense, 71-62. (Recap here)

What's at Stake: 
  • The Stags are three games away, 15-0, from an elimination-round sweep and will likely be looking to assert their dominance after back to back heart attack games courtesy of Perpetual Help and Mapua. 
  • Letran suffered a shocking loss to the Perpetual Help Altas, sending them down to third place with a 12-3 record, conceding the second seed to the San Beda Red Lions. Beating the current chart-toppers would not only help their morale, but marring San Sebastian's perfect record also means stopping a potential stepladder situation.

SSCR Stat to Watch : Simply put, defense wins championships, as well as key regular season match-ups. In their first encounter, the Stags were able to put the clamps on the Knights, holding them to a season-low 25.27 percent from the field, helped out by their "encouragement" to Letran to take outside shots (they were just 4 for 31, for another season-low, 12.9 percent from downtown). A repeat of that performance is unlikely, but something close to that (see what Perpetual Help did, for example) would certainly key in a win.
SSCR Player to Watch : Ronald Pascual was surprisingly low-key in their first match, scoring just 13, without a triple and notching six turnovers to boot. He was however able to draw scoreless outing from VJ Espiritu so it wasn't all bad. But if the Knights are able to contain Sangalang, then Abueva simply can't do it alone and will need his outside shooting to help space out the defenders.

CSJL Stat to Watch : Hustle points might be the key to stopping San Sebastian. The Knights got a some of that right by doubling the Stags' second-chance points 18 to 9. But despite forcing 20 turnovers on their opponents, the Knights only managed 10 turnover points, the same amount the Pinatubo Trio and company scored off their 14 errors. After scoring just four in that stat versus the Altas, the Knights simply have to get back to their strengths.
CSJL Player to Watch : Raymond Almazan posted 11 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks while battling Ian Sangalang to a standstill in round one, and that's the sort of performance the Knights will need from him. They're in trouble if he falls to foul trouble early, as he's their best match-up versus his San Sebastian positional counterpart.

Prediction: Letran Knights

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