TWO of the league’s top gunners hope to recover their shooting touch as Final Four contenders San Sebastian and Jose Rizal University collide on Thursday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Ronald Pascual and Nate Matute are expected to bounce back from their lackluster showing when the Stags and Bombers meet in the crucial main event at 6 p.m.
Bottom-half teams Arellano and Lyceum face off two hours earlier in a no-bearing game.
The second-running Stags are hoping Pascual and the rest of the `Pinatubo Trio’ will be on the same page against the Heavy Bombers for them to secure their entry in the Final Four.
While reigning MVP Calvin Abueva and possible successor Ian Sangalang have been consistent this season, Pascual has been the opposite.
The failure of Pascual to get in the groove has always been a barometer for the Stags, their 67-82 loss to Letran last Sept. 15 being the latest proof.
In all, Pascual averaged just 6.5 points and shot just 14.5 percent from the field in his last two games, including the loss to the Knights.
“Focus lang sa game at sa shooting. Kailangan wag magmadali sa mga tira ko,” Pascual said on Wednesday.
Matute, on the other hand, had a measly point and one attempt in 15 minutes off the bench in the Bombers’ 59-70 defeat also at the hands of the Knights last Saturday.
The Bombers, who are in fifth place with a 9-7 mark, are definitely expecting a bounce-back game from him as they seek to stay alive in the race for a Final Four berth.
Matute said he just needs to take more shots.
“I’ll try to shoot more.”
Asked why he just took one attempt in their game against Letran, Matute said he’s still adjusting to his new role as the team’s sixth man.
“I like starting…my minutes have diminished,” said Matute, who has come off the bench in JRU’s last three games.