Games today, October 27, at the MOA Arena, Pasay
- 11 a.m.- San Beda vs CSB (juniors semis)
- 1 p.m.- Mapua vs Letran (juniors semis)
- 3:30 p.m.- San Sebastian vs Jose Rizal (seniors)
MANILA, Philippines – Michael Calisaan looks to build on his career-best performance when he leads San Sebastian College in another knockout game against Jose Rizal University (JRU) on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The stepladder semifinals of the NCAA Season 93 tournament officially kick off on Friday, with the third-seeded Heavy Bombers facing the fourth-seeded Golden Stags in a do-or-die affair.
Game time is at 3:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to yet another knockout game against defending champion San Beda College on Tuesday, November 7.
Calisaan will be a marked man for the Heavy Bombers, after the San Sebastian big man dropped a career-high 36 points in their 74-69 win over Colegio de San Juan de Letran last Tuesday, propelling the Golden Stags to their first semis appearance since Season 89.
"Ready na naman kaming manalo," said Calisaan, who also grabbed 10 rebounds and knocked down the dagger three-pointer with 18 seconds left to play. "Pero hindi lang naman ako ang maglalaro diyan."
"Lahat kami, magtu-tulong-tulong. Lahat kami, gugustuhing manalo," he vowed.
JRU, making a Final Four return after missing the cut last year, enters Friday's game as prohibitive favorites. The Heavy Bombers swept San Sebastian in the eliminations, with a 73-62 win in round 1 and a 60-58 victory in round 2.
But JRU coach Vergel Meneses said everything is back to zero.
"I've been in basketball for so long, that (I know) anything can happen in a playoff game," he pointed out. "For us, we just have to be focused and ready for anything."
A rough, physical game may be in the offing, as JRU and San Sebastian are two of the league's top defensive teams. The Heavy Bombers limit foes to only 69 points per game and are known for grinding out victories. The Golden Stags, meanwhile, hold their opponents to only 70.2 points per game – the third stingiest mark in the league.
San Sebastian mentor Egay Macaraya is already anticipating a tough game.
"Jinx namin ngayon (ang JRU), dahil hindi kami nanalo ng dalawang beses," noted Macaraya, who celebrated his 56th birthday on Tuesday, the same day that the Stags secured a semis appearance.
"But this is different now. We're in the Final 4, and the boys want to be there. They want to go all the way to the championship," he added.
In the juniors' division, San Beda and defending champion Mapua University try to book a championship rematch as they take on La Salle Greenhills and Letran, respectively.
The Cubs and the Robins clinched the twice-to-beat edge by finishing first and second while the Squires and the Junior Blazers needed to win two in a row to make it the finals, being the third and fourth seeds.
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