ON a week that saw Letran’s other 'Kevin,' Lyceum’s backups, and Mapua’s underrated point guard all rise to the occasion, let’s give a nod to the NCAA’s unheralded players while citing players who clearly have no idea on what a student-athlete should be.
Guess who led Letran to an important win last week? Yes, it was Kevin…not Alas but Racal, who lifted the Knights past powerhouse San Sebastian, 82-67, last Saturday. With star guard Kevin Alas riding the bench in the third quarter due to foul trouble, Racal stepped up and provided the baskets that keyed their ninth win in 15 games. His performance not only helped the Knights get back in the Final Four picture, it also earned him NCAA Press Corps Player of the Week honors.
Lyceum’s role players
Depleted and low in morale, the Pirates squad did the improbable last Thursday when it stunned Final Four contender Jose Rizal University, 69-62. Without six key players who were either out due to academic deficiencies, a suspension, or sickness, the already-eliminated Pirates leaned on their backups -- Gian Mallari, Dexter Zamora, and Daniel Garcia, along with starting point guard Shane Ko to momentarily put a dent on the Bombers’ semifinal hopes.
San Beda’s old reliables
The Lions’ leaders lived up to their billing last week. Skipper Jake Pascual, who’s in his last year of eligibility with the team, delivered a double-double of 19 points and 12 boards to go with two blocks, while fourth-year forward Rome dela Rosa, who has just recovered from a fractured nose bridge that led to two straight scoreless games, added 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting to spearhead the Lions in a 92-69 hammering of Emilio Aguinaldo College last Saturday.
Mapua was blessed with Jonathan Banal’s career game last Monday. Delivering the telling blows against semifinal aspirant University of Perpetual Help, the son of Arellano coach Koy Banal ended up with a career-high 21 points on 4-of-6 shooting from three-point range and 8-of-8 from the free throw line to propel the Cardinals past the Altas, 74-71, and help them keep their flickering Final Four hopes alive with their sixth win in 15 games.
The Pirates’ stars obviously didn’t value their tag as student –athletes. Their top two scorers — Chris Cayabyab and Rich Guevarra, along with key contributors Vence Laude and Mark Francisco, were all removed from the roster last week due to academic deficiencies. The decision was made by Lyceum athletic director Hercules Callanta, who discovered that all of them except Francisco haven’t been attending their classes.
A member of the San Sebastian’s 'Pinatubo Trio' was back on a shooting slump last week. On a night when the Stags needed to get their Big Three on the same page against a team that had more motivation than them, Pascual floundered, shooting a woeful 2-of-18 (11 percent) from the field in the Stags’ loss to a Final Four-seeking Letran last Saturday.