It will be speed versus length and pace versus size when the Lyceum Pirates and Letran Knights duel in the NCAA Final Four.
First-round meeting: Lyceum def. Letran, 87-82
Second-round meeting: Letran def. Lyceum, 80-79
How Lyceum got here:
It wasn't an elimination round sweep like last year, but the Pirates will gladly take a 15-3 record. They still employ their high-octane offense and pressure defense similar to their campaign last season. They are number one in offense with 86.6 points per game and still like to run with their league-leading 18.8 fastbreak points.
CJ Perez remains an MVP contender with averages of 18.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 3.3 steals. Lyceum also has the services of big man Mike Nzeusseu and twins Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino. The Pirates like to run to get easy baskets and can dismantle opposing defenses with their quick passing and up-tempo style.
The Pirates however have a few chinks in their armor. Because they play at such a fast pace, they are also prone to create a ton of turnovers. They average 16.8 errors a game and those miscues prove costly because they quell their momentum.
Aside from turnovers, the Pirates' lack of outside shooting can doom them in the postseason. They only shot 27.8 percent from downtown and don't really look for the 3-point shot. Still, when the game gets slower in a halfcourt setting, they have to get their shots up to have a chance.
How Letran got here:
Size and length have been the cornerstone of the Jeff Napa-mentored Letran. From Jeo Ambohot, Larry Muyang, Christian Fajarito, and Bong Quinto, the Knights like to play bully ball and muscle their way into the paint. They are second in points in the shaded area but are number one in field goal shooting at 43 percent. They wear opponents down with their size. Coach Napa also has the luxury of playing different lineups. He can flaunt a huge lineup or add a little versatility if he pleases.
Bong Quinto and point guard JP Calvo are the centerpieces of the Knights.
Quinto is an MVP in his own right, with the ability to get a basket any time he wants. His back-to-the-basket game opens up a ton of opportunities for his teammates in the paint. Through his court vision and passing, guys like Muyang and Ambohot tear up the post. It also helps that Quinto's all-around game has vastly improved. This season alone, he racked up more triple-doubles than his previous four years.
Calvo meanwhile is among the best point guards in the league. He can score at will, but more importantly, find his teammates in the lane. He averaged 14.1 points and 5.1 assists and has been a significant contributor after Quinto.