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Do or die

  • Written by Theodore Jurado
  • Published in Basketball
  • Read: 245

Game today:

(Mall of Asia Arena)

3:30 p.m.--  San Sebastian  vs. Letran (S)

REY Nambatac was a one busy man yesterday.

After attending the PBA draft combine in the morning, Nambatac joined Letran’s practice at the
Mall of Asia Arena in the afternoon which he  hopes it won’t be the last.
    
Despite all of the distractions surrounding him  being one of the potential first round picks
this weekend, Nambatac  has  an unfinished business with  the Knights in another do-or-die game.
    
After surviving Arellano University last Friday, Letran still has San Sebastian to hurdle as it
tries to punch the remaining ticket to the step-ladder semifinals at 3:30 p.m. today in the NCAA
seniors basketball tournament.
    
“I’m looking forward for this match,” said Nambatac, who produced a scintillating 25-point
performance in a 70-68 victory over the Chiefs that kept the Knights’ season alive.
    
The winner of this knockout duel will face No. 3 Jose Rizal University in the first step-ladder
on Friday at the same Pasay venue.
    
Letran coach Jeff Napa remains upbeat of his team’s chances to make it to the semis after a
one-year absence.
    
“We’re good and ready for them,” said Napa.
    
The Knights and the Stags split their head-to-head in the elimination round.
    
Letran won the first one, 79-75, in overtime on Aug.  15, before San Sebastian had the last
laugh when it routed the latter, 95-64, on Sept. 26, in a game where Napa said his troops were not in
focus.
    
Stags mentor Egay Macaraya said defense will spell the difference in this no-tomorrow clash.
    
“If we can show the same defensive intensity that we had in our last meeting, we have a
chance,” said Macaraya, who is eyeing to steer San Sebastian to its first post-season appearance since
2013.
    
The Stags are the third-best defensive team in the eliminations, holding down opponents to 70.2
points a game.
    
Also, what makes San Sebastian so hard to deal with is its intense physical play, which gave
teams a lot of headaches.
    
If Nambatac, who is expected to be the focal point of the Knights’ attack after his brillant
effort the last time out, will be neutralized, the Stags will have an easy time.