LEAGUE-LEADING National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) teams Lyceum Pirates and San Beda Red Lions look to create further distance between them and the rest of the pack when they take the court anew today against separate opponents at the FilOil Arena in San Juan City.
Occupying the top two spots currently in Season 93 of the country’s longest-standing collegiate league, the Pirates (5-0) and Lions (4-1) shoot for victories that would keep their position of command early in the tournament.
Lyceum battles the Perpetual Help Altas at 2 p.m. while San Beda collides with the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers in the preceding game at 12 noon.
Completing the triple-header set for today is the match between the San Sebastian Stags and Mapua Cardinals.
The pacesetting Pirates notched their fifth straight win last Tuesday, pounding the College of St. Benilde Blazers by 43 points, 98-55.
Lyceum had a slow start against CSB but eventually raised the ante at the beginning of the second period and never looked back to book the win and keep their league-leading and unblemished record intact.
Jaycee Marcelino led Lyceum with 17 points to go along with seven rebounds and three assists.
Wilson Baltazar had 16, going four-of-nine from beyond the arc, while CJ Perez finished with 14 points, six rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
“We remember our defeat to them last year where they broke their 17-game losing streak and they ended with a 1-17 record. That was the motivation for this game,” said Lyceum coach Topex Robinson of their victory over CSB and the extra bounce they displayed in the game.
Looking to stop the Pirates’ streak are the Altas, victors over San Sebastian, 68-65, also last Tuesday.
Perpetual Help had to dig deep to dispose its opponent, needing four critical free throws from GJ Ylagan in the closing moments of the contest.
The win was the second straight for the Altas (2-2) after opening their Season 93 campaign with back-to-back losses.
Ylagan was the high point man for Perpetual Help with 15 points while Prince Eze had a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds.
THIRD STRAIGHT WIN
Second-running and defending champion San Beda, meanwhile, guns for a third straight win and keep itself close with Lyceum in the race.
The Lions’ last victory came over rivals Letran Knights, 81-74, on July 25 that saw Robert Bolick having an all-around game of 22 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Jayvee Mocon also had it solid with 17 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
“Letran played us well but I told the players to just stick with our system, stick with our game plan, and play as a team,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez postmatch.
JRU (2-2), for its part, got back in the win column in its last assignment, beating Letran, 65-62, on July 21.
Jed Mendoza was the hero for the Heavy Bombers in their last win, pouring in 17 points and pulling off a defensive gem in the closing seconds to frustrate Letran’s comeback bid.
Teytey Teodoro added 14 points for the Kalentong-based Heavy Bombers while Gio Lasquety had 10.
In the third game, struggling teams San Sebastian and Mapua Cardinals, sporting identical 1-3 cards, eye their second victory in five games and get out of the cellar.