Lyceum of the Philippines University scored a major morale-booster heading into Season 98 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament.
Pirates head coach Gilbert Malabanan said their strong performance in the ongoing 16th FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup boosted their morale, giving them enough confidence to make a serious run in the NCAA wars starting 10 September.
Right now, the Pirates fashion a 5-1 win-loss card to sit at the second spot in Pool B of the preseason tournament.
Malabanan said competing in the preseason tilt allows them to experiment and give their players, especially the rookies, a good feel of the competition.
“The preseason helps us see where to adjust and where we lack in our game before the season begins,” Malabanan said.
“It also gives a confidence boost to the players. It’s also to see if what they are doing in the court fits with the system.”
The Pirates are coming off from a 75-64 win over San Sebastian College with Renzo Navarro firing 13 points from a 4-of-9 shooting clip.
Aside from Navarro, the Pirates will lean on veterans Enoch Valdez, Maclaude Guadaña and John Barba as they aim to make a semifinal return following a dismal 2-7 win-loss record in Season 97.
While Yancy Remulla, Junmark Silvarez, Carlo Abadeza, Jerwin Guinto and Eric Jabel have already exhausted their playing years, rookies Renz Villegas, Genesis Aviles, Simon Penafiel, Maverick Vinoya, Gyle Montano, Jerlan Omandac, Julian Culanay and Khen Caduyac are ready to fill in for Lyceum.
Valdez, however, is still undergoing rehabilitation from a shoulder injury that he suffered last season.