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NCAA: Letran, Lyceum battle for finals spot

Letran and Lyceum battle for the right to face San Beda. Arvin Lim, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – Colegio de San Juan de Letran look to ride the momentum of their win over San Sebastian College when they take on second-seeded Lyceum of the Philippines University in the NCAA Season 95 stepladder semifinals, Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The No. 3 Knights held off a furious fourth-quarter fightback by the Golden Stags, 85-80, to advance to the next round of the stepladder.

It will be another knockout game between the Knights and the Pirates, with the winner advancing to take on unbeaten San Beda University in the best-of-3 title series.

Letran coach Bonnie Tan believes his team is the underdog in the match, as they have yet to beat the Pirates in Season 95. Lyceum took their first-round encounter, 84-80, as well as their second, 97-90.

“We haven’t won against them, so it’s a tall order, a big challenge for my team,” said Tan.

“I hope na maka-pull through kasi one game na lang. May kasabihan nga, pag may tira, may tsamba,” he added.

Tan will continue to bank on his veteran core anchored by Jerrick Balanza, Bonbon Batiller, and Larry Muyang – all of whom came up big against the Golden Stags.

However, they will have their hands full against an explosive Lyceum squad that features twins Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino, along with Mike Nzeusseu.

“Mabigat ‘yun, Lyceum ‘yun eh. Kaya sa ensayo, kailangan namin simulan. Sa amin magsisimula talaga, sa ensayo,” said Balanza, who had a team-high 15 points in their win over San Sebastian.

The Pirates have not played since October 17, when they lost to San Beda, 85-62.

Game time is at 4 p.m.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.

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