The Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals wants to be a scrappy team just like the Lyceum Pirates.
And this is what is pushing them after the Generals pulled off an 84-81 upset over Lyceum last Friday, even as they seek another win against the defending champion San Beda Red Lions in their 4 p.m. encounter at their own homecourt today at the EAC-Manila gymnasium in Manila.
The high-spirited Generals will now be going for their second straight triumph in three games in the 95th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament.
“You know how scrappy they are (Pirates). Yun ang dream namin. Maging scrappy katulad nila,” said new Generals coach Oliver Bunyi in his bid to mold his players into a determined and focused squad.
In the junior division, the San Beda Red Cubs will try to stay unbeaten after three games in their 2 p.m. clash with EAC-Imaculate Conception Academy Brigadiers.
Rallying from 18 points down against the Pirates, the Generals leaned on the heroics of Jethro Mendoza, who knocked in a go-ahead basket coming off Marwin Taywan’s pass to win the game with 1.5 seconds left.
The Pirates then tried to go for a last shot, with Reymar Caduyac hurling an inbound pass to Jayvee Marcelino. But it was intercepted mid-air by Generals cager Renz Gonzales as time expired.
Red Lions coach Boyet Fernandez said the team will have to fine-tune their execution in their next games after their 74-52 blasting of the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers.
The Red Lions will gun for win no. 3 against the Generals, and they have been struggling with their finishing moves in their last two games.
“That’s really a problem. When we’re up, we’re not executing,” said Red Lions mentor Boyet Fernandez.
The Red Lions banked on sophomore point guard Evan Nelle in creating openings, and they were on fire with James Canlas striking hard in the first period, and hitting 10 of 17 points as they unraveled a 15-0 attack in the first seven minutes.