Cardinals, Chiefs fight for playoff lives
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 13, 2015 12:31 AM
WIN OR GO HOME. Only one between MVP candidates Jiovani Jalalon and Allwell Oraeme will make it into the Final Four.
Games on Tuesday at the MOA Arena
2:00 PM – Mapua vs Arellano
4:00 PM – Letran vs San Beda
The Final Four of the NCAA 91 Men’s Basketball Tournament hasn’t even started yet, but the task at hand is already daunting for Mapua Institute of Technology and Arellano University.
The Cardinals and the Chiefs dispute the fourth and final playoff berth on Tuesday at the MOA Arena before the victor moves on to face Jose Rizal University for the three-seed. Only then will the Final Four start with a twice-to-beat disadvantage staring the third- and fourth-seeds in the face.
Still, a continued campaign will mean the world to both programs.
For Arellano, it signals hope to replicate their runner-up finish from a year ago. While no key players are graduating and “Bus Driver” Jiovani Jalalon has one more year left, a second straight playoff berth reinforces the Chiefs’ status as a new-age powerhouse.
For Mapua, it books their first Final Four appearance since 2010. They may have already reached the farthest they have gone in their individual collegiate careers, but head coach Atoy Co and team captain Josan Nimes remain determined to formalize the Cardinals’ re-entry as a basketball power.
The Cardinals and the Chiefs split their first two meetings. Arellano won in overtime, 100-96, back in the first round and Mapua scored an 81-76 win in their second round face-off.
The do-or-die game for the fourth and final playoff berth tips-off at 2:00 PM and all of the action will be broadcast LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23 as well as streamed LIVE on sports.abs-cbn.com.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.