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Knights on a mission

by Christian Jacinto

Forget the previous game.

That was the order of Letran coach Caloy Garcia to his boys as they seek a playoff spot for one of the Final Four berths against Jose Rizal University today in the NCAA Season 89 at The Arena in San Juan.

Claiming they have learned enough lessons from their crushing 87-64 loss to the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals last Saturday, Garcia said they need to start strong in their 4 p.m. encounter in order to have a chance of repeating over the Bombers and getting back on the winning track.

“We have to wake up against JRU. Once we get that win again we’re back on track. We just have to learn from our losses and wag mawalan ng kumpyansa sa isa’t isa,” he said.

If they can’t start well, Garcia said, they may suffer another setback like what happened to them the last time.

That, according to Garcia, would be unforgivable.

Although they’re carrying a second-best 10-3 record, the Knights still need to win at least two of their remaining five games to book a return trip to the semis.

Among the fancied teams they still have to face in the second round are San Beda and University of Perpetual Help.

But as the Final Four race heats up, the Knights appear to be losing steam as they split their last four games, thus relinquishing the solo lead to San Beda (12-2). They also lost to the Lyceum Pirates two weeks ago.

In the second game, Arellano (4-9) will try to avoid elimination as it faces Mapua (1-12).

The Chiefs still have a mathematical chance of getting into the semis.

To restore order to the team, Raymond Almazan, the leading MVP candidate, should redeem himself from a so-so performance against the Generals.

Like Garcia, Almazan also knows the importance of their game. .

“Raymond talked to the team (after our loss against EAC) and he talked about what’s at stake for us,” Garcia said.

The Bombers, toting a 5-7 card, are also in dire need of a win since they’re just a game a behind No. 5 Emilio Aguinaldo and two-and-a-half game behind number four running San Sebastian which totes an 8-5 record.

JRU coach Vergel Meneses hopes to get another stellar performance from Michael Mabulac to produce a decisive win.

Mabulac tallied 28 points and 19 rebounds in a losing effort against University of Perpetual Help.