THEY may be poles apart in the standings, but Letran will not be fooled by the record of College of St. Benilde in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The front-running Knights try to keep their unblemished slate intact when they take on the cellar-dwelling Blazers - the remaining winless team in the league at 0-3 - at 6 p.m. at The Arena in San Juan.
While Lady Luck has been smiling on the Knights, the Blazers have had no such luck in their first three games, which they lost by a combine margin of just four points.
The Blazers are coming off a 73-71 overtime defeat at the hands of Jose Rizal University last Thursday.
But Knights coach Caloy Gracia remains wary of the Blazers, saying their opponents’ record belies their true worth.
“The difference between us and CSB is CSB lost three games by close margins and we won three games by close games also,” said Garcia, whose team has won by an average margin of just 4.3 points, the latest a 69-66 win over JRU last week.
“CSB is a tough team,” added Garcia, who once handled the Blazers a few years ago. “They’re a complete team and they’re bigger than us.”
Indeed, the Blazers have capable swingmen in Mark Romero, Paolo Taha, Fons Saavedra, and legitimate big men in Roberto Bartolo and JR Ongteco.
But they would have to match up against the Knights’ own set of reliable cagers in slotman Raymond Almazan and guards Mark Cruz, and Rey Nambatac.
Riding the momentum of a 74-59 victory over Mapua last Saturday, Lyceum seeks a third win in four games as it faces University of Perpetual Help earlier at 4 p.m.
The Altas are coming off their first loss in three games, a controversial 78-77 overtime defeat at the hands of San Sebastian last Monday.