Twice-to-beat Letran and Mapua hope to make quick work of their respective foes and arrange an exciting “Battle of Intramuros” in the NCAA Season 97 semifinals today at the FilOil Flying V Centre Arena in San Juan.

Photo from GMA NCAA

The top seed Knights take on the red-hot Perpetual Help Altas at 12 noon while the second place Cardinals aim to assert mastery over the San Beda Red Lions in the 3 p.m. showdown.

Although heavily favored, Letran, which secured the semifinals seat via a clean sweep of the eliminations, should be wary of the dangerous Perpetual side which survived three grueling do-or-die matches to take the semis seat.

The Altas took down EAC Generals to secure a play-in spot before beating Arellano and upsetting College of St. Benilde to survive the play-in and book a dance with the defending champions.

“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, for me, so i-savor namin yun ieenjoy namin yun and hopefully makatsamba kami on Sunday,” said Altas head coach Myk Saguiguit.

All eyes, however, will be on Knights star Rhenz Abando who dropped a then career-high 24 points which went with five rebounds, four assists and three steals in their 68-57 demolition of the Altas in the eliminations.

Meanwhile in the second game, the Cardinals who beat the Red Lions for the second seed by virtue of their 68-57 triumph in the eliminations, look to deal another heartbreaker to last season’s runners-up.

San Beda’s loss to Mapua proved to be costly as it missed out on the twice-to-beat edge for the first time in 17 years. A loss today for the Red Lions could also mean that they will be missing the Finals for the first time in the last 14 editions of the NCAA centerpiece.

Also a cause of concern for the Red Lions is the health of top gun James Kwekuteye who failed to finish their 63-57 victory over the Blazers due to an ankle sprain especially against a well-rested Cardinals led by Paolo Hernandez and Warren Bonifacio.

Source: Manila Bulletin (