MEMBERS of the Lyceum Pirates are itching to make history in the 93rd National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament.
With their showdown with the Mapua Cardinals called off for the second time before of a typhoon, assistant coach Jeff Perlas said the Pirates are beginning to show heart as the season progresses.
“It’s the heart. It’s not about the coaches anymore, it’s now about these guys,” said Perlas.
Perlas, speaking on behalf of coach Topex Robinson, talked about the mood of the Pirates, who are going for a ninth straight win that will allow them to sweep the first round.
Never have the Pirates gone this far and a sweep will put the Intramuros-based dribblers in contention for the first seat in the Final Four.
He said the team is now stepping up On defense.
The Pirates’ 6’8” Cameroonian player, Mike Nzeusseu, for instance, is now learning the value of defense.
He just doesn’t attack the basket, Nzeusseu now helps out on defense as well.
“Everytime the opponent takes a shot, he gets the rebound,” noted Perlas.
When action resumes, Robinson will be back on the bench.
Robinson was slapped a one-game suspension following his ejection from their 97-93 win over Emilio Aguinaldo College at the EAC Gym last Aug. 10.
Despite his absence, the Pirates eagerly got past the Letran Knights, 75-68, to post win no. 8.
Meanwhile, San Sebastian College faces off with defense-first Jose Rizal University without its top player Michael Calisaan today in the 93rd NCAA basketball tournament, which goes on Tour again at the San Sebastian Gym in Mendiola, Manila.
Calisaan was ejected in his team’s 75-73 win over the Emilio Aguinaldo Generals at the Filoil Arena in San Juan City last Friday that resulted in an automatic one-game suspension he will serve in the Stags’ 4 p.m. duel with the Bombers.
It will be a big blow for San Sebastian as Calisaan is its best scorer and rebounder with averages of 16.5 points, league’s fifth best, and nine rebounds in eight games.
“The only way we can win without Michael (Calisaan) is if we step up as a team, not just one, two or three players,” said San Sebastian coach Egay Macaraya.
San Sebastian’s winning prospect was made gloomier by the fact that Jose Rizal is the league’s No. 1 defensive team, having suffocated their opponents to a league-best 62.9 points a game, leading the latter to a fourth-best 4-3 (win-loss) mark.
The Stags are at No. 5 with a 4-4 slate.
In offense, Jose Rizal rely heavily on Teytey Teodoro and Jed Mendoza, who averaged 13.1 and 12.4 points, respectively.
“Our defense is our offense,” said Jose Rizal mentor Vergel Meneses.
(San Sebastian Gym, Mendiola)
2 p.m.- San Sebastian vs Jose Rizal (jrs)
4 p.m.- San Sebastian vs Jose Rizal (srs)