EMILIO Aguinaldo College aims to keep its fading Final Four hopes alive as it takes on rejuvenated Mapua on Monday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The Generals, in fifth place with an even 8-8 win-loss slate, have to win their last two games and hope for fourth-running San Sebastian (9-7) to drop their last two assignments to notch a breakthrough semifinal appearance.
First of all, the Generals have to take of care of the cellar-dwelling Cardinals in the 4 p.m. tipoff to move a half-game behind the Golden Stags.
EAC, behind Cedric Happi, Jolas Paguia, and Igee King, turned back Mapua, 89-80, in the first round, making the Generals the favorites to repeat.
The Generals, however, will have their hands full against the Cardinals, who are oozing with confidence following a shocking 81-76 victory over defending champion San Beda.
The victory was only the second in 16 games for the Cardinals. A win against the Generals will surpass the worst-ever record set by former guest team Angeles University Foundation in 2009 when the Doves finished with a 2-16 mark.
“We just want to finish this tournament on a good note,” said Cardinals coach Atoy Co, who is counting on Kenneth Ighalo and Jessie Saitanan. “Hindi nawala yung paniniwala ko na may kakayanan yung team kong manalo.”
In the second game, second-running San Beda tries to regain a piece of the lead with Letran as it faces sixth-running Arellano at 6 p.m.
The Red Lions, who have already secured a twice-to-beat edge in the semifinals, will be up against an already-eliminated Chiefs side that’s hoping to finish the season in the top 6, which will all have berths in the coming Philippine Collegiate Champions League.