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Crucial JRU-EAC game, Pampanga-San Juan Game 2 in unconventional Tuesday triple-header at FilOil EcoOil Centre

JRU and EAC clash in a crucial NCAA battle to be followed by Game 2 of the MPBL North Division Finals between Pampanga and San Juan. NCAA (file photo) 
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—San Juan's Cinderella run to the MPBL North Division Finals assured that a playoff game will be played at their home, the FilOil EcoOil Centre, which was announced to be played on Tuesday.

However, due to an NCAA doubleheader scheduled also on Tuesday, an unconventional triple-header will be taking place at the said venue.

At 1:30 p.m., also-ran NCAA squads Letran and Arellano slug it out as they look to earn some wins to have a respectable finish to their season.

In the second game at 3:30 p.m., however, Jose Rizal University and Emilio Aguinaldo College collide in a very important match-up.

The Heavy Bombers are currently holding the number four spot in the team standings at 9-6, but the Generals are just one game behind.

A win by JRU will give the team some cushion in the race for the last Final Four spot, but an EAC victory will force a virtual three-way tie for fourth with San Beda at 8-6 and both EAC and JRU at 9-7.

And then the main event: San Juan looks to keep its season alive as it battles Pampanga at home in Game 2 of the MPBL North Finals.

To give ample time for the transition, the clash between the Giant Lanterns and Knights will be played at 8:30 p.m., the only game in the MPBL national semifinals that will be played later than 7 p.m.

Pampanga, leading 1-0 in the best-of-three series, can sweep San Juan to clinch the first seat in the national finals.

However, an expected sold-out crowd is ready to cheer for the Knights inside the 6,000-seater FilOil EcoOil Centre.

In spite of this, Pampanga governor Delta Pineda, also the Giant Lanterns' head coach, said that some fans from San Fernando City will travel south to counter the home crowd. 

"Expected naman namin ang crowd ng kabila doon sa homecourt nila, pero I think maraming Kapampangan ang luluwas doon para manood," Pineda said. 

With two high-stakes games plus a battle for pride between the two NCAA cellar-dwellers, it's a great time to go to the FilOil EcoOil Centre. 

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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