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Red Lions, Cardinals in battle of leaders

Games Today
(The Arena, San Juan City)
10 a.m. – JRU vs Letran (jrs)
12 noon – San Beda vs Mapua (jrs)
2 p.m. – JRU vs Letran (srs)
4 p.m. – San Beda vs Mapua (srs)

Pacesetter San Beda tries to fan its winning streak to tighten its hold of the top spot, while defending champion Letran aims to disentangle from a three-way logjam when both teams battle separate foes today in NCAA men’s basketball at The Arena in San Juan City.

The Red Lions clash with the dangerous Mapua Cardinals at 4 p.m., staking their 6-0 win-loss record, while the Knights collide with the Jose Rizal University Bombers at 2 p.m.

San Beda is expected to display its strength anew after becoming the only unbeaten team in the league, using its recent 101-86 triumph over Arellano University last week to fuel its momentum.

But Mapua, which trails closely behind San Beda at 5-1, is no pushover with its sturdy formidable cast led by reigning Rookie-MVP Allwell Oraeme.

The 6-foot-9 Oraeme currently averages 17 points, 19.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in six games, making Mapua a tough force in the paint.

So strong is Oraeme inside that he collared 22 rebounds in the Cardinals’ 88-75 win over the San Sebastian Stags six days back.

The Cardinals also boast of a dependable support squad in Andrew Estrella, who averages in double-figures, Exeqiel Biteng and Joseph Eriobu.

But San Beda is unfazed, leaning on its speed and cohesion with Fil-Am Davon Potts, Donald Tankoua, Radge Tongco and Javee Mocon forming the core of the squad.

In the other pairing, Letran seeks solo third place against JRU with Rey Nambatac and Jomari Sollano leading the attack.

The Knights tote a 4-2 mark with Arellano and Perpetual at third to fifth following their 61-55 loss to the Altas in their last outing.

JRU, for its part, aims to improve its 2-3 card at seventh.