MANILA, Philippines – A resurgent Lyceum squad will look to jump to solo fourth place as it tackles a skidding Emilio Aguinaldo College team Friday in NCAA Season 90 men's basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The Pirates have racked up two straight wins, an 80-78 win over Mapua and an 84-80 triumph over Jose Rizal that sent it to joint No. 4 with the San Sebastian Stags on identical 3-2 win-loss records.
They will be gunning for their third straight win and fourth overall in a 4 p.m. duel against EAC, which has dropped its last three games, including a 65-73 loss to Perpetual Help last July 11.
Despite the record disparity, Lyceum coach Bonnie Tan thinks the Pirates and Generals are equals.
"If you noticed, anyone can beat anyone this season," said Tan.
Tan has been drawing strength from Cameroonian Guy Mbida, Dexter Zamora and Shane Ko in scoring and rookie Joseph Gabayni inside.
Mbida, Zambora and Ko combine to score 42 points, or more than half of what their team is averaging, while the bullstrong Gabayni, a rookie transferee out of the University of Santo Tomas, has averages of 10.8 points and 9.8 rebounds to go along with 1.6 blocks.
Lyceum is expected to have its hands full against EAC's Cameroonian center Noube Happi, who has averaged 12.75 points, 12.75 boards and 1.25 blocks in their first four games.
In the other game, St. Benilde will seek to ride the crest of its shock 85-71 win over last season's runner-up Letran last Monday as it tangles with league doormat Mapua at 2 p.m.
The giant-sized win over the Knights gave the Blazers their first win this year after dropping their first three outings, while the Cardinals have yet to secure a win after losing their first five assignments.
Paolo Taha will be the man to watch out for after he torched Letran with 24 points, making all but two of his 11 attempts from the field.