By: Jerome Lagunzad
(The Arena, San Juan City)
12 noon – San Beda vs St. Benilde (J)
2 p.m. – San Beda vs St. Benilde (S)
4 p.m. – Lyceum vs Mapua (S)
6 p.m. – Lyceum vs Mapua (J)
Whether it’s an actual game or an exhibition match, Lyceum coach Topex Robinson is reminding the Pirates to give the sport the respect which they have also been seeking from their rivals.
That explains why Robinson is expecting the Pirates not to take the struggling Mapua Cardinals for granted when they clash in the second round of the 93rd NCAA seniors basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City today.
Tip off is at 4 p.m., with Lyceum favored to stretch its winning streak to 10 and repeat over a decimated Mapua side which has dropped its last seven matches.
The Pirates handily beat the Cardinals 97-74 in their initial meeting last August 25 but that won’t be enough reason for Lyceum to take Mapua lightly, admitted Robinson. “We just want to make sure we remember our purpose at the start of the season. We just want to be respected by the other teams,” he said.
Clashing at 2 p.m. are defending champion San Beda and St. Benilde, with the Red Lions also expected to reassert their dominance over the Blazers whom they handled with ease 76-52 last July 18.
San Beda, riding high on a seven-game winning streak, will lean on crafty guard Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon while St. Benilde, bannered by JJ Domingo and rookie Unique Nabo, intends to stop a three-game bleeding and keep itself in contention for a Final Four berth.
Much of the focus, however, should fall on the main match, with the Pirates aiming to get their usual bearings after losing in the All-Star Game and to the Ateneo Blue Eagles in a tuneup encounter last week.
“We just reminded them that we are not invincible after all. We may lost anytime if we don’t play with the same purpose we had at the start of the season,” added Robinson.