The Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights are looking to sweep their two-game season series with Intramuros neighbor Lyceum when they collide in the first game of a twin-bill schedule of Season 88 of the NCAA at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
In their first round meeting last August, Mark Cruz stepped up to help the Knights trounce the Pirates, 70-60, despite missing Raymond Almazan and with several Knights feeling under the weather.
This time around, a beefed-up, healthy Letran lineup will try to contain the production of the Lyceum’s big three composed of Chris Cayabyab, Rich Guevarra and Shane Ko.
Letran is currently at the fifth spot with a 6-6 win loss slate. Although the Knights dropped their last assignment, 68-62, against defending champion San Beda, this year’s host is still in the running for a final four slot.
The Pirates, meanwhile, are virtually out of contention and will be content in playing the spoiler’s role.
In the main game, the Mapua Cardinals will face the Arellano Chiefs in their second round meeting at 6 p.m. It will again be Arellano coach Koy Banal going up against his former assistant, Mapua coach Chito Victolero.
This match will also feature Mapua’s Jonathan Banal going up against his father Koy. Joining the younger Banal is his cousin Gab, who also plays for the Cardinals.
In their previous meeting, where the Cardinals went home with a 68-49 blowout win over the Chiefs, Jonathan and Gab combined for 26 points. According to Jonathan, it was bittersweet to have to hand his father a loss but he wanted to show he was up for the challenge of proving something to his dad.
Mike Parala was unstoppable in that game. The Cabuyao, Laguna product came through with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Arellano lived and died with Rocky Acidre, who was the only Chief who barged into the double-digit scoring department with 20. Filipino-Canadian hotshot James Forrester’s presence was not felt. Nard Pinto and Levi Hernandez were non-factors as well.
The Cardinals, who are currently at the sixth spot with a 5-7 record still has a chance to barge into the final four. They are just half a game behind fifth placer Letran.