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Pirates vs Lions

  • Written by Theodore P. Jurado
  • Published in Basketball
  • Read: 216

Game today:

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

3:30 p.m. -- San Beda vs. Lyceum (S)

LIVING up with the mantra of inspiring people beyond basketball, Lyceum of the Philippines University
hopes to accomplish a historic season.

Staking a rich tradition, San Beda wants to show everyone what it takes to win a championship.
    
Two teams tipped to cross paths in the Finals before the start of the NCAA seniors basketball
tournament, the Red Lions and Pirates open their best-of-three series at 3:30 p.m. today at the Smart
Araneta Coliseum.
    
Despite losing twice to LPU in the eliminations, San Beda knows that the championship round is
a different story.
    
The Pirates narrowly beat the Lions, 96-91, and 107-105 in double overtime, and this will
serve as a motivation for the 20-time champions to conquer them in the games that matter.
    
“We lost against Lyceum and I know people have been doubting us,” said San Beda mentor Boyet
Fernandez.
    
“But the players believe in themselves. Sabi nila, coach we lost the game against LPU but just
give us your trust. I gave them my trust and they gave me this day,” he added.
    
Coming off a 22-day break after sweeping the elimination round, the Pirates are looking ready
to slug it out with the Lions in their Finals debut despite the long lay-off.
    
“It’s really hard. It’s a challenge. Tinanong nga ako before na we could choose to make it an
advantage for us being away for a while, or a disadvantage and we chose the first. We want it to be an
advantage for us,” said LPU coach Topex Robinson.
    
“They know that our job isn’t done, they are always playing humble, they always know that they
haven’t accomplished anything yet,” he added.
    
A hopeless six-win team last season, the run-and-gun Pirates accomplished one of the league’s
biggest turnarounds by being the first team to record an  18-0 elimination  round campaign.
    
LPU, which joined the NCAA in 2011, seeks to become the first squad to complete a perfect
season since San Beda last did the trick seven years ago.
    
Definitely, the Lions will go all-out to put an end to the Pirates’ pillage and raise their
championship banner No. 21.
    
San Beda made it to the title round after eliminating San Sebastian, 76-71, in the second
step-ladder last Tuesday.
    
While Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon has been consistent all-season long, the Lions are also
drawing strength from Cameroonian center Donald Tankoua, who rediscovered his old form after a scary
knee injury last year.
    
But the Pirates are loaded that made them a joy to watch this season.
    
CJ Perez has been producing MVP-like numbers for LPU, while Cameroon’s Mike Nzeusseu took his
role to the letter by being a force to reckon with in the middle.
    
Then there’s twins Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino, who are solid in the backcourt, while MJ Ayaay
and Reymar Caduyac are also delivering the goods for the Pirates.
    
In the juniors division, defending champion Mapua and CSB-La Salle Greenhills begin their own
best-of-three duel at 1 p.m.