Knights go for 8th win versus Altas
MANILA, Philippines - Letran hopes to come out strong coming off a two-week layoff as it tries to extend its unbeaten run against tough Perpetual Help even as Jose Rizal U and Lyceum tangle in other contest in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan today.
The Knights waylaid the Mapua Cardinals, 87-68, last July 29 to nail their seventh straight victory before the league took a break to give way for the 27th FIBA-Asia Championship.
Fully-rested, the Muralla-based squad is raring to get-go in their 4 p.m. encounter with the Altas, also eager to slug it out with the pacesetters in a bid to firm up their hold of the third spot at 5-2.
Defending three-peat champion San Beda is in second with a 7-1 card, staying within striking distance of Letran with an 83-64 rout of the San Sebastian Stags last Monday.
“Perpetual Help has played to its billing as a pre-season favorite and it should be tough playing them,” said Letran coach Caloy Garcia, expecting a tight battle with the Altas, who won five of their first six games in impressive fashion before bowing to an equally surging San Beda side, 65-72, last July 27.
The Knights will have a job cut out for them as they try to contain Nigerian Nosa Omorogbe and rookie sensation Juneric Baloria, the league’s leading scorer at this stage with a 21-point norm.
Still, Perpetual Help coach Aric del Rosario said it will all boil down to defense.
“For us to have a chance against Letran, we have to play aggressive especially in defense,” said del Rosario in Filipino.
Jose Rizal U, meanwhile, tries to keep its hold of the No. 4 spot as it collides with a skidding Lyceum side at 6 p.m.
The rookie-laden Bombers have notched four wins against three defeats to remain at the upper half of the field, ahead of San Sebastian (4-4), Lyceum, Arellano U, Emilio Aguinaldo College and St. Benilde, which all tote 2-5 slates.
Mapua trails the field with a woeful 1-6 mark.