Pi­rates still peer­less

Lyceum sets up key duel vs San Beda with rout of JRU

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - SPORTS - By Cedelf P. Tu­pas @cedelf­p­tINQ

As the last Fi­nal Four berth re­mained up for grabs, the Lyceum Pi­rates kept them­selves a cut above the rest in NCAA Sea­son 93.

The Pi­rates put on another su­perb of­fen­sive dis­play with a 100-63 de­mo­li­tion of the Jose Rizal U Heavy Bombers to move within a vic­tory of an elim­i­na­tion-round sweep at Filoil Fly­ing V Cen­tre in San Juan.

CJ Perez, who fin­ished with 24 points, soared for a one-handed dunk off an al­ley-hoop, mo­ments af­ter Mike Nzeusseu de­liv­ered a wind­mill slam in the early mo­ments of the fourth pe­riod, punc­tu­at­ing another dom­i­nant per­for­mance by the Pi­rates against the third seed in the Fi­nal Four.

But the last mem­ber of the Fi­nal Four cast has yet to be de­ter- mined af­ter Le­tran failed to get the job done against San Beda, 7368, while San Se­bas­tian kept its end of the deal with an em­phatic 97-70 win against Ma­pua.

San Beda, which can still en­ter the play­offs as the top seed, is now the last hur­dle that Lyceum has to over­come to seal a huge edge for its cham­pi­onship hopes.

If the Lions fail to stop the Pi­rates’ pil­lage of the NCAA field, Lyceum will au­to­mat­i­cally earn a berth to the cham­pi­onship, leav­ing the three other Fi­nal Four schools to go through a steplad­der se­ries for the other ti­tle berth.

Lyceum will also have a thrice-to-beat edge against the steplad­der sur­vivor in the cham­pi­onship se­ries.

Play­off matches loom in the race for No. 4 af­ter the Knights fell into a three-team tie with the Stags and the Arel­lano Chiefs for fourth spot with iden­ti­cal 8-9 records.

Le­tran, Arel­lano and San Se­bas­tian will play dif­fer­ent teams on the fi­nal week of the elim­i­na­tion round, set­ting up the pos­si­bil­ity of a three­way tie at 9-9. The Pi­rates re­fused to pull their punches against one of the league’s best de­fen­sive teams, pulling away in the sec­ond pe­riod to match its win to­tal from the pre­vi­ous three sea­sons.

“We came to play,” said Lyceum coach Topex Robin­son. “We came to honor the game and we will play how we al­ways play.”

—AU­GUST DELA CRUZ

CJ Perez (right) and Lyceum will con­tinue their chase for a play­off bonus against San Beda on Thurs­day.

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