THE day of reckoning has come in the NCAA Season 93 and the stakes couldn’t be any higher for teams already in the Final Four and squads on the edge of making it to the semis.
Lyceum shoots for a historic season sweep in the final game of the season and fittingly, it’s San Beda standing in its way as the two top teams clash at 2 p.m. in a high-profile double-header on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Center.
While the Pirates and the Red Lions dispute the top spot, San Sebastian fights for dear life in the second game of the twin bill when it takes on the skidding Perpetual Help.
Assuming the Pirates win, the league will have its first elimination round sweep in the 18-game format, resulting in an automatic finals berth - if ever a first in Lyceum’s history.
This will lead to a tiring stepladder format in lieu of the traditional Final Four, which means this game means a whole lot for the Red Lions than a shot at getting the top seed.
If a stepladder materializes, San Beda will be losing its twice-to-beat incentive despite sitting pretty at No. 2 in the standings.
League rules dictate that the battle for the last finals ticket be disputed in a one-game knockout instead of the traditional way where the top two seeds have a twice-to-beat edge against their semifinal foes.
However, the thrice-to-beat rule in the Finals has been dumped as the league decided that the championship series will be played in a best-of-three.
“All of these games are a good preparation for Lyceum. Honestly, we’ve been looking at this game for a long time and we’ve been preparing for a shot at getting back at them,” said San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez.
Assuming the Red Lions win, there will also no longer be a playoff for the top seed as the head-to-head quotient will take effect.
If the Red Lions win by at least six points, then they will be moving to the top of the heap of the standings even with a similar 17-1 record with the Pirates.
Any other result will lead to the Pirates clinching the top spot.
But while the top is being disputed, the Stags will be fighting to shake things up in the battle for the fourth and last spot in the playoffs.
Currently, Letran and Arellano are tied for the fourth and fifth spot with 9-9 records as Jose Rizal University sits comfortably at the third spot after finishing with an 11-7 record.
A win for the Stags will lead to a triple tie in the battle for the final semifinal spot.
In that case, the Knights and the Chiefs will be facing each other on Friday for the right to face the Stags who’ll be catapulted to the heap of the logjam via superior quotient.
Only then will the official semifinals start as whoever comes out on top of this tiring three-way dance will face either the Heavy Bombers should there be a stepladder format, or whoever ends up as the top seed in case the Final Four pushes through with a San Beda win.
In the event that the Stags lose to the 4-13 Altas, the match between the Knights and the Chiefs will now be for the final semis spot.