LYCEUM of the Philippines University seeks to extend its perfect run to another game as it clashes with lowly Mapua at the start of the elimination’s second round in the 93rd NCAA basketball tournament at the Filoil Arena in San Juan City today.
The Pirates swept the first round in nine games to underscore their bid of making it to the Final Four for the first time since they entered the league six years ago and possibly make the finals and win their very first title.
LPU shoots for win No. 10 when it takes on Mapua at 4 p.m.
Cameroonian Mike Harry Nzeusseu and CJ Perez have been two of the biggest keys for the Pirates’ impressive first round run as the two are currently in the top in the MVP race behind leader Nigerian Prince Eze of Perpetual Help.
Skipper MJ Ayaay have provided the glue that kept the team together, while twins Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino have been the pillar of LPU’s defense that helped LPU stay unscathed.
“We were blessed with players who embraced what is good for the team instead of their own individual selves,” said LPU coach Topex Robinson.
LPU will play a Mapua squad that has languished in the cellar with a 1-8 (win-loss) mark due to the absence of reigning back-to-back MVP Allwell Oraeme, the departure of Shane Menina to another league and the injury to captain Andoy Estrella (MCL tear).
For LPU to stay at the helm, Robinson said they need to keep on improving.
“The only way we could stay on top is to stay hungry and keep on improving each game because we expect the other teams to also improve,” he said.
Defending champion San Beda, for its part, aims to stay closely behind LPU as it takes on St. Benilde at 2 p.m.
The Lions are on a streak themselves as they won their last seven games to zoom to No. 2 with an 8-1 mark and a triumph over the Blazers, who are second to last with a 2-7 slate, would solidify their hold on a spot in the top two.
(Filoil Arena, San Juan)
12 noon- San Beda vs St. Benilde (jrs)
2 p.m.- San Beda vs St. Benilde (srs)
4 p.m.- LPU vs Mapua (srs)
6 p.m.- LPU vs Mapua (jrs)