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Pirates meet lowly Stags

Photo courtesy of NCAA Philippines / Facebook

Games today:

(Filoil EcoOil Centre)

1:30 p.m. — Lyceum vs San Sebastian

3:30 p.m. — Mapua vs Arellano


Unless Lyceum of the Philippines University shows up with a bunch of sick players, the Pirates are expected to run over the eliminated San Sebastian Stags in their bid to bolster their Final Four chances in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 99 basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Parading a second-best 11-3 win-loss card, Lyceum would earn at least a playoff berth for one of the four slots in the semis in the event of a win in the 1:30 p.m. encounter.

The Stags, dangling a woeful 2-13 slate, lost to the Pirates, 83-72, in the first-round and their second-round encounter shouldn’t be different although head coach Gilbert Malabanan is not taking this game lightly.

“We always thought of our remaining games as do-or-die games,” Malabanan said.

“I think our loss against Perpetual was a lesson learned for us and we improved a lot on the things we are in control like lesser fouls and lesser turnovers.”

“That’s our main motivation: Making it into the Final Four so we’re going to do our best and double our efforts,” he added.

Carrying the fight for the Pirates is team captain Enoch Valdez, whose 16-point production went down the drain as University of Perpetual Help won, 81-80, last Sunday.

While the spotlight falls on the Lyceum-San Sebastian match, out to steal the thunder is Mapua’s 3:30 p.m. showdown with Arellano University with the Cardinals aiming to pull away from the pack.

The Cardinals are already assured of a twice-to-beat edge following their 69-53 triumph over the Altas last Wednesday.

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