Letran makes another run at NCAA top two

Posted on October 09, 2015

FAILED LAST TIME around to barge into the top two spot of the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament, the Letran Knights make another run at it against the Perpetual Help Altas, themselves fighting for a semifinal spot, on the final day of eliminations today.

Letran makes one last push for outright entry to the NCAA top two. -- Alvin S. Go
Set for 4 p.m. at The Arena in San Juan City, Letran (12-5) faces up with Perpetual Help (11-6) in an all-important game that carries much weight in their final four aspirations.

A win by the Knights takes their total to 13 victories, enough to enter the top two and earn the twice-to-beat advantage it carries in the semifinals, complication-free, while booting the Altas out of contention. A loss pulls down the Muralla-based dribblers to a tie with the Altas and, possibly, a couple of other teams and will have to go through a series of playoff matches for the top two spot.

Letran had a shot at a top two finish last Wednesday when it took on the defending champions San Beda Red Lions.

Unfortunately for the Knights they fell short of their initial quest, bowing 77-73 to the Lions (13-5) who gained entry to the top spot in the process.

Expected to lead the Knights today are the “Big Three” of Mark Cruz, Kevin Racal and Rey Nambatac. The trio combined for 34 points against the Lions in their last game.

Perpetual Help, for its part, has lost back-to-back games which has cost it dearly down the stretch.

It is being paced by triple-double threat and reigning league most valuable player Earl Scottie Thompson and rookie big man sensation Bright Akhuetie.

Preceding the Letran-Perpetual Help game are important games as well featuring the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers (11-6) against the San Sebastian Stags (6-11) at 12 noon, and Mapua Cardinals (11-6) versus the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals (2-15) at 2 p.m.

Like Perpetual Help, JRU and Mapua are also out to make one last push and throw themselves in the mix for a playoff spot, if not for a top two at least for the final four. A loss for them today could cost them their campaign.

Also in the playoff picture are last year’s runners-up the Arellano Chiefs (12-6), who beat EAC, 98-90, last Wednesday to fortify their hold of a playoff spot.

As per NCAA rules, ties between two teams will be settled by a playoff match while logjams involving three or more teams will be decided by a stepladder series, with the squads ranked according to their quotient number. -- Michael Angelo S. Murillo