NCAA: ‘Diesel-powered’ second unit fuels Lyceum’s push vs Perpetual

Lyceum Malabanan NCAA

FILE–Lyceum Coach Gilbert Malabanan with the Pirates. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

MANILA, Philippines—Lyceum’s winning streak was almost snapped by Perpetual Help on Wednesday. Fortunately for head coach Gilbert Malabanan, he had one more trick up his sleeve.

The Pirates never tasted the lead since the opening game buzzer and they were down by as much as 11 in the first half.

Malabanan unleashed what he considers to be Lyceum’s “diesel”—his second unit.

“The biggest adjustment I did was the second unit. We couldn’t get close with our first unit (starters) so I talked to the bench. I needed them,” the head tactician said at San Juan Arena after their 82-77 win over Perpetual Help.

“My second unit is like diesel. They are the ones who heat us up and they give us the important runs,” he added.

Lyceum’s second stringers registered 40 bench points in the win compared to only 29 for the Altas.

The Pirates’ top scorer, Enoch Valdez, also came off the bench for Malabanan.

“Last season, I was just focused on myself. Now, I just see where I can help. There’s a lot of us who can score, but if I can help with rebounding or passing to my teammates, I will do that,” Valdez said. 

The former NCAA All-Star MVP finished with 13 points, three rebounds and two steals.

Currently, Lyceum holds the top seed with a 4-1 win loss record with Letran and Benilde just behind with twin 3-1 records.

The Pirates will look to stretch their winning streak to five on Sunday against defending champion, Letran.