Another Battle of Intramuros is in the offing when the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights take on the Mapua Cardinals in the continuing action of Season 88 of the NCAA at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
But this battle will be overshadowed by the main game between the Lyceum Pirates and the San Sebastian Stags.
Former San Sebastian Stag Topex Robinson, who has been calling the shots for the Stags since last season, called it quits last Tuesday in a meeting with San Sebastian officials inside their campus.
The decision came a couple of days after they dropped their first assignment in the second round. According to reports, Robinson had to give up his coaching chores in the collegiate rank in order to concentrate on his duties as an assistant coach for the Alaska Aces in the PBA.
The Stags lost, 77-67, to the undermanned EAC Generals, who were ironically missing their own head coach in that contest.
When the Stags face Lyceum at 4 p.m., Pampanga native and assistant coach Allan Trinidad will be calling the shots as interim head coach.
All eyes will be on Calvin Abueva, who was drafted number two overall in last Sunday’s PBA Draft. A day before the annual rookie draft, Abueva had an off-night, posting just nine points and eight rebounds, a far cry from his averages of 20.4 points and 17.4 rebounds.
The game snapped his nine-game streak of double-double outputs and relegated him to second place in the scoring leaders of the NCAA. His averages dropped to 19.3 points and 16.5 rebounds per game.
Steady piece Ian Sangalang will have to double his efforts to lead the team if Abueva and Ronald Pascual repeat their lackluster showings against EAC.
The Pirates absorbed another stinging loss, 77-47, in their second round opener against the Red Lions. Chris Cayabyab was the lone scorer in double figures for the Pirates with 10. It will be up to Shane Ko and Rich Guevarra to step up their game once again to lead the Pirates back to the winning column.
Lyceum’s last win was last July 9, a 78-74 come-from-behind win over Mapua.
In the first round, the Letran Knights won their meeting with the Cardinals, 66-60, in a closely fought game.
With the return of Raymond Almazan and the injured Joel Gabriel in their fold, the Knights are now back in full force for a mean second round campaign. Jam Cortes, Kevin Alas and the rest of the Knights will wrestle their way to another win over Intramuros neighbor Mapua.
The Cardinals are coming off a 68-49 win over the Arellano Chiefs for their last assignment in the first round. Led by the steady performance of graduating center Mike Parala, Mapua will try to bounce back against Letran to improve their chances of making the final four. Currently, both teams are locked with similar 4-5 slates at the 5th and 6th spots.
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