THE advantages of playing in front of a home crowd will finally be put to test on Thursday as Arellano University becomes the first team in the NCAA Season 93 to play in its court when it hosts San Sebastian College on Thursday at the Arellano Gym in Manila.
Game time is at 4 p.m. with the Juniors counterparts of both teams battling each other at 2 p.m.
Questions about logistics, player and student safety and the much discussed homecourt advantage will finally be answered.
Coming off a 91-82 win in the opener against Mapua University last Saturday, the Chiefs look to make it two in a row in the post-Jiovani Jalalon era when they take on the Stags.
Coach Jerry Codinera hopes that they can somehow use the familiarity of playing at home to their advantage.
“Syempre merong home court, crowd. Malaking tulong yun sa kanila. Familiarity sa gym, home court, we have the advantage. Dapat lang ma-utilize yun,” said Codinera.
However, the former PBA star warns his squad against complacency, especially against a dangerous San Sebastian side.
“But we shouldn’t bank on our home court. You have to outwork them. Sabi nga dun sa interview, you have to respect them. San Sebastian, the way they played, toe to toe, down the line, naka ganun yung San Sebastian sa San Beda. You just have to be ready pag sila kalaban.”
Kent Salado, who led the Chiefs past the Cardinals with 24 markers, echoed his coach’s sentiments.
The lead guard now since the departure of Jalalon, Salado anticipates the Stags to go on a tear trying to apply pressure on them, the same way they almost beat San Beda in their first game which they eventually lost, 67-76.
“Sa akin lang, home court daw, sabi nila. Pero di ko naman iniisip na home court kasi bilog din yung bola. Yung Baste, puro trap sila. Lalaruin lang namin.”