WITH the burden of a potential elimination round sweep gone, Lyceum of the Philippines University hopes to get back on the winning track against Arellano University today in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Coach Topex Robinson knows that this is not the end of the world for them, as the Pirates try to close in on a Final Four berth in their 2 p.m. clash with the struggling Chiefs.
“We just have to learn from it and try to improve every game,” said Robinson.
LPU lost a nine-point lead midway in the payoff period and suffered a narrow 81-83 defeat to an overachieving University of Perpetual Help System Dalta last Friday.
That sent the Pirates to their first defeat after starting the season with 12 consecutive wins.
With LPU’s streak halted, defending champion San Beda now owns the current longest streak this season and is expected to extend it further as it squares off with a rejuvinated San Sebastian squad at 4 p.m.
Red Lions mentor Boyet Fernandez has a reason to be wary of the Stags.
Now playing at full strength, San Sebastian has racked up three wins in row capped by an 82-75 conquest of Jose Rizal University a week ago to leapfrog from the bottom to joint seventh with idle Mapua at 4-9.
“They are playing really well in their recent games and we expect a really tough game,” said Fernandez.
The two forfeited first round games have definitely hurt the Stags a lot, as they are now playing catch up in the second round.
“Well, sayang din, ‘di ba, ‘yung forfeiture na ‘yun. Nandoon sana kami sa contention na,” said San Sebastian head coach Egay Macaraya.
“Pero past is past, we just move forward. The good thing about this is, we are starting to win, so nakaka-recover na ang mga bata sa distractions.”
The 4-8 Chiefs actually have a better record than the Stags, but with the team in the doldrums after last week’s sudden resignation of coach Jerry Codiñera, the Legarda-based squad hope to quickly adjust right away under interim mentor Junjie Ablan.