Crucial tiff for Cards in semifinal hunt
Mapua coach Randy Alcantara has built a culture of hunger and desire for victory in his Cardinals, who will have that mindset when they face the Perpetual Help Altas in the NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball tournament Tuesday at FilOil Flying V Centre.
“We don’t look at the standings. We just play with a strong desire to win every game,” said Alcantara, whose Cardinals need to sweep their last two elimination round assignments for a chance to make the semifinals.
Tip-off is at 12 noon, with only the No. 4 slot left to be contested with No. 1 San Beda, Lyceum and Letran grabbing the first three berths in that order.
At 17-0, the defending champion Red Lions try to sweep the eliminations when they clash with the Pirates on Thursday. Sweeping the eliminations would mean outright qualification into the title series, leaving the next three teams to fight it out in a stepladder semifinals.
A full game behind fourth-running San Sebastian (9-7), the Cardinals (8-8) cannot afford a misstep if they still want to be in the hunt.
They will wrap up the second round against St. Benilde on Friday.
“It’s really important for us to win our two remaining games or at least force a tie with San Sebastian,” said Alcantara, the two-time NCAA junior champion coach who brought his winning attitude to the collegiate ranks.
Out of contention in the semis, the only goal for the Altas (4-11) and coach Frankie Lim for now is to finish the tournament with their heads held high.
The Stags aim to inch closer to a semifinal appearance when they tackle Arellano (4-12) in the 2 p.m. game.
Despite their recent setback to the Cardinals, the Stags still remain in control as long as they don’t lose for the remainder of the elimination round.