By Jerome Lagunzad
(The Arena, San Juan City)
8 a.m. – Mapua vs EAC (J)
10 a.m. – AU vs LPU (J)
12 noon – Mapua vs EAC (S)
2 p.m. – AU vs LPU (S)
4 p.m. – San Beda vs Letran (S)
6 p.m. – San Beda vs Letran (J)
Lyceum is making early noise in the NCAA seniors basketball tournament and it’s not just because of blue-chip recruit CJ Perez.
The other Pirates are also making their share of contributions and are expected to do the same today when they try to sustain their rampage against the dangerous Arellano University Chiefs at The Arena in San Juan City.
Tip off is at 2 p.m., with the Pirates eager to stretch their winning streak to four as they intend to further boost their title credentials following three impressive victories, the latest was a 78-73 conquest of host San Sebastian College four days back.
While the 6-foot-1 Perez sustained his scoring tear against the Golden Stags with a team-high 20 points, versatile wingman MJ Ayaay stole the spotlight in the stretch where he fired away six of his 17 markers much to the delight of Pirates’ mentor Topex Robinson.
“Wala kaming tinitignan kung star o ano, pare-parehas kami. Wala kaming inggitan,” said the third-year wingman. “Kami kasi ‘yung captain ball ng team kaya kami lagi ‘yung kumakausap sa team.”
The Pirates should remain on their toes against the Chiefs, who are coming off a pulsating 73-72 overtime victory over the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers last week, thanks to Kent Salado’s jumper in the waning moments.
Tipped to gain a fair share of limelight is the 4 p.m. clash between archrivals, defending champion San Beda and Letran.
The Red Lions, one of the Pirates’ early victims, intend to extend their winning to three while the struggling Knights try to bounce back from a stinging 62-65 loss dealt by the Heavy Bombers last Friday.
Battling in the other seniors match set at 12 noon are Mapua and Emilio Aguinaldo College, both eager to keep in step with the pacesetters.
Still, all eyes will be on the Pirates who have been living up to their lofty billing so far. Robinson, however, isn’t surprised at all.
“Again winning is the result of our vision,” he said. “We want to make sure we inspire others. It’s a reminder to ourselves, inspire others and give them hope. We wanna inspire players from the province, na kaya nila maglaro and it can be done.”
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