Altas try to bounce back vs BlazersBy Cedelf P. Tupas |Philippine Daily Inquirer
Lyceum looks to build on its stirring performance the last time out even as Perpetual Help tries to get back on the winning track against dangerous St. Benilde in the 89th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Hoping to ride the momentum of an upset victory over the Letran Knights, the Pirates battle the Arellano Chiefs at 4 p.m. before the Perpetual Help-St. Benilde duel at 6.
“I’m hoping for consistency from the team now,” said Lyceum coach Bonnie Tan. “We just want to take it one game at a time.”
The Pirates also pulled off a shocking victory over defending champion San Beda in their season debut, but could only muster two victories since then until their conquest of the Knights last Thursday.
This time, they will be facing an Arellano squad desperate to stay alive in the Final Four race.
The Chiefs suffered a 49-54 loss to the San Sebastian Stags last Monday in one of their worst offensive performances this season.
But one thing going for Arellano has been the solid play of Prince Caperal, who turned in a double-double effort against the Stags, ending up with 15 points and 16 boards.
Lyceum, which lost to Arellano, 60-68, in the first round, hopes to come out strong again with Aziz Mbomiko and Dexter Zamora leading the attack. Mbomiko shot 22 points against Letran, while Zamora chipped in 18.
Foiled by the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals last Saturday, the Altas, who hold an 8-3 record, hope to stay in step with leaders Letran and San Beda.
But the task will not be easy as the Blazers are in the midst of their best stretch this season, having won five of their last six games, including a 74-62 drubbing of the Mapua Cardinals last Saturday.
At the forefront of the Blazers’ surge are swingmen Mark Romero, Paolo Taha and Jonathan Grey, who have been taking turns in carrying the load for St. Benilde.
“I think they are slowly realizing their potential,” said St. Benilde coach Gabby Velasco of the trio. “They are good players and they just need encouragement and make them realize that they could go places with their talent.”
Nosa Omorogbe, the star in the 90-89 win over the Blazers in the first round, looks to bounce back after seeing limited minutes against the Generals due to foul trouble while Juneric Baloria also tries to replicate a fine shooting performance in their last game.