Lyceum hopes to overcome any surprise planned by Perpetual Help when they clash on Thursday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Perpetual parades two Nigerian players and Lyceum enters their 4 p.m. match clueless on one of the foreigners.
The Pirates have seen how 6-foot-6 Femi Babayemi plays in the preseason, but they have no idea what Nicholas Omorogbe brings to the table.
“Playing against a team that has foreign players is a very tough task,” Pirates coach Bonnie Tan said on Wednesday. “Even worse, we haven’t scouted one of the foreign players.
“But our team will still be playing with our hearts and guts.”
Lyceum tries to recover from Monday’s 61-70 loss to College of St. Benilde, a game that the Pirates seemed poised to win until a late Blazers rally. The Pirates were still ahead by six early in the fourth before the Blazers scored 14 unanswered points to turn the game around.
Their starting backcourt of Chris Cayabyab and Shane Ko, who registered 13 and 11 points against CSB, will again lead the fight for the Pirates.
Aside from the Nigerians, the Altas have the streak-shooting Jet Vidal, promising sophomore Earl Thompson, Jeorge Allen, and Anthony Paulino.
In the 6 p.m. game, Jose Rizal University seeks its second win when it takes on hapless Arellano University.
The Bombers survived Mapua, 65-64, on opening behind Decoy Lopez’s late charity, while the Chiefs have lost two in a row, including a demoralizing 81-71 defeat at the hands of a six-man San Beda crew.
JRU is expected to be led by Lopez, Alex Almario, Nate Matute, and Byron Villarias, while the Chiefs continue to rely on Rocky Acidre, Nard Pinto, and Levi Hernandez.