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Holding twice-to-beat advantages, #1 Colegio de San Juan de Letran and #2 Mapua University will shoot for finals berths as they tackle separate foes in the NCAA Season 97 Final Four on Sunday.
The defending champions Knights will clash with the streaking University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas in the 12 p.m. serving while wrapping up the weekend double-header are the Cardinals and the San Beda University Red Lions at 3 p.m.
After they formalized their semis tickets last week, Letran head coach Bonnie Tan said his wards should be wary of whoever their opponent will be, especially because they will be coming off a long break.
"Ang binabasa namin dito [ay] 'yung haba ng break," said Tan following their 59-56 squeaker against the Red Lions last Friday.
"We rested for nine to 10 days [during the Holy Week break] and pagbalik namin flat-footed kami at wala kami sa timing. So 'yun ang concern namin, 'yung break na binibigay and 'yun ang pag-aaralan namin, kung paano i-handle 'yung gantong klaseng scenario."
Letran will be up against a Perpetual side that's fresh from winning its last four assignments, three of which were knockout games.
The Altas have survived do-or-die games against Emilio Aguinaldo College, Arellano University, and De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde for a return trip to the Final Four after four years.
"Ngayon ko lang naisip na we’re gonna face Letran kasi 'di namin inisip eh," said Perpetual coach Myk Saguiguit.
"Now Letran, it’s a privilege to play against them kasi no. 1 team in the league, walang talo kumbaga. It’s gonna be a good experience and opportunity for my players. So i-savor namin 'yun, ie-enjoy namin 'yun and hopefully makatsamba kami on Sunday."
Meanwhile, Mapua will hope to end a years-long finals appearance drought as it takes on San Beda.
The Randy Alcantara-mentored team is hoping to ride on the momentum of their own four-game winning streak against the Red Lions, who are eager to follow up their play-in win over the Blazers.
Mapua will still bank on its offensive weapons in Brian Lacap, Paolo Hernandez, Toby Agustin, and Warren Bonifacio while San Beda is hoping that star guard James Kwekuteye has fully recovered from an ankle sprain he endured from the previous game.
—JMB, GMA News