No. 1 spot, last playoff berth at stake in crucial NCAA stretch
Every game matters, especially for the last remaining teams in the playoff chase of the NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament.
Lyceum (17-0), San Beda (16-1), and Jose Rizal University (11-7) have all clinched their seats in the Final Four, but of the three, only the Heavy Bombers are locked in at the third spot.
The Pirates and the Red Lions clash in the first game on Thursday, with the former aiming for an unprecedented 18-0 sweep, while the latter gunning to avenge their lone loss of the season.
Also at stake is the top spot, as a San Beda win ties them with Lyceum at 17-1. But for the former to move up to number one, they have to beat the latter by more than five points.
But if the Pirates triumph on Thursday, that will turn the playoffs into a stepladder semis, with the Intramuros-based crew earning an outright berth in the best-of-3 Finals.
Meanwhile, Arellano (9-9), Letran (9-9), and San Sebastian (8-9) are all making their case for the last semifinal ticket, and after Tuesday’s playdate, the Chiefs and the Knights are tied.
However, it can still be a three-way logjam for the fourth spot if San Sebastian topples Perpetual in the final eliminations game on Thursday, giving them identical 9-9 marks.
In that scenario, the Golden Stags will have a bye owing to their superior plus-30 quotient over the two, leaving the Knights (minus-9) and the Chiefs (minus-21) facing off in the first playoff on Friday.
The winner of that duel will take on San Sebastian next week with the fourth semifinals seat hanging in the balance.
One thing’s for sure, all NCAA teams still in the Final Four race will have their eyes firmly locked in on Thursday.
For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.