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Must-Watch: Takeaways on Mapua-San Beda Pre-Match Up

Locked and Loaded.

Coming off from a disappointment in the Season 95 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) after failing to clinch the Final Four, the Cardinals (5-2) are already on track to grab a sit in the play-offs as they gun for their 6th win against the still undefeated San Beda Red Lions (6-0).

A hard-earned win against the Red Lions will put the Cardinals in a comfortable cushion and may have a chance to earn the number 2 spot depending on the scenario of the final games in the elimination round between the Red Lions and the Cardinals.

However, there’s no such thing as easy basketball.

San Beda Red Lions may have lost their imports, but the quality of their play remains the same. With the energy and the intensity in every match-make, the Season 95 runner-up’s records are still unscathed. Thanks to their very deep line-up despite having a mixture of the veteran and rookie laden squad, mostly from their junior’s program that champed in the NCAA Season 95 Juniors edition.

To win the game, here are some takeaways from the previous match-up that must be maintained and prevented during the much-anticipated match-up between the hot teams of the NCAA.

1. Consistency

Over the past five games, the Cardinals have had a hard time finding its rhythm from the perimeter to the rainbow land. The Cardinals have had a very low field goal percentage since the start. Luckily, the Cardinals prevailed in the first three games before bowing down to the defending champions Letran Knights and Arellano Chiefs.

However, the losses served as a wake-up call for the Cardinals. The Cardinals surprised us with very hot shooting from downtown. They shot 28 treys in the last two games against UPHSD Altas and DLS-CSB Blazers. The Cardinals are torching their opponents in the perimeter.

If the Cardinals maintain their energy, consistency, and composure on the court, they will have the bite against a powerhouse team like San Beda.

2. Defense

The Cardinals are still one of the best defensive teams in the ongoing season of the NCAA. Limiting their opponents to 60+ points per game, the Cardinals showed us some quality when it comes to defensive plays even though they have a smaller line-up compared to other teams. In the past two games, their good defense led to terrific offense garnering 2nd chance points from the turnovers committed by their opponents.

If the Cardinals maintain their defensive strengths against one of the best defensive and offensive teams in the league, San Beda, the Cardinals may have a chance. San Beda’s offense is one of the best in the league. So the best antidote for a shooting team is always an outstanding defense. The offense is just a bonus, indeed.

3. Team Play

In the past three games, we saw how the Cardinals punished their opponents with their defense and offensive prowess. However, we also saw how our star players had been locked down. With Bryan Lacap being the hottest player on the floor in the past two games, it is expected that the defensive pressure of San Beda will be put upon the best guy on the floor. Therefore, it is a must that the Cardinals keep their composure on the floor. Whoever enters the court must be ready, both offense and defense, to stay on track with a powerhouse team like the Red Lions.

4. Communication

Communication on the floor is what gives everybody energy. This is the same with basketball. In the games against Letran and Arellano, Mapua Cardinals seem to lose their communication inside the floor. This is one of the main reasons the Cardinals lose in 2 games in a row. Their lack of communication leads to a couple of turnovers and individual playing that hurt the team. The Cardinals must keep on communicating despite a very worst situation. In a game where they will face one of the most hyped teams in the NCAA, like the Red Lions, it is a must to keep their game mode on. And communication is a key to it.

5. Must-watched players

The bench of the Red Lions is so deep. So, there are a lot of players to watch. Given the quality of play that the Seniors had already given, it should be noted to watch the rookies who had already been punishing the opponents with their shooting capability, athleticism, defense, and quality playmaking skills. This includes Yukien Andrada, Rhyan Amsali, and Winston Ynot. While we already know how James Kwekuteye has been punishing the opponents, we should be aware that the rookies have been playing solidly for the Red Lions, given that they haven’t played for the last two years. To win the game against San Beda, the Cardinals must play solid defense, just like what they have done against the star players of CSB Blazers.

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