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NCAA: Lyceum, Letran in crucial match as Final 4 looms

Race to semifinal spots heats up

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Games Friday (The Arena, San Juan City)

8 a.m. – St. Benilde vs Arellano (Jrs)

10 a.m. – San Sebastian vs EAC (Jrs)

12 noon – St. Benilde vs Arellano (Srs)

2 p.m. – San Sebastian vs EAC (Srs)

4 p.m. – Letran vs Lyceum (Srs)

6 p.m. – Letran vs Lyceum (Jrs)

By WAYLON GALVEZ

As the tournament nears its Final Four stage, the race for playoff spots intensifies as Lyceum and Letran face off in a crucial encounter while San Sebastian College tries to solidify its own bid in NCAA Season 95 Friday at The Arena in San Juan.

Lyceum Pirates celebrate during their NCAA Season 95 game against the Letran Knights at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on July 7, 2019 (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Lyceum Pirates  (MB file photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

The main game of the triple-header between the Pirates and the Knights is scheduled at 4 p.m.

Skidding St. Benilde collides with season host Arellano University (3-10) at 12 noon before SSC-R battles Emilio Aguinaldo College (1-11) at 2 p.m.

With defending champion San Beda University on track to finishing at the top and earning a twice-to-beat incentive in the playoffs, the fight for the second spot remains a toss up.

San Beda currently sports a 13-0 record, followed by Lyceum at second with a 9-3 card, a half-game ahead of Letran (9-4) at third, while San Sebastian has a 7-5 slate at fourth place.

Mapua and College of St. Benilde are tied for fifth with identical 6-6 records and are still in contention for a place in the crossover semifinal round.

In the first round, the Pirates downed the Knights 84-80 on opening day last July 7.

Lyceum coach Topex Robinson expects the same close encounter with Letran, especially now that both of them are eyeing No. 2 spot and the twice-to-beat bonus.

“We’re just ahead of them half-game in the standings so every opportunity, and every win gives us some separation from them. It’s an important game in our bid to have that advantage come playoff time,” said Robinson.

The two teams are coming off wins, both against CSB —  the Pirates won against the Blazers 85-83 last Sept. 20 while the Knights downed the Blazers 87-74 four day later.

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