Home » Sports » EAC faces Arellano

EAC faces Arellano

By Jerome Lagunzad

Games Today
(The Arena, San Juan City)
12 noon – EAC vs Arellano (jrs)
2 p.m. – EAC vs Arellano (srs)
4 p.m. – Mapua vs CSB (srs)
6 p.m. – Mapua vs CSB (jrs)

Struggling Final Four contenders – Emilio Aguinaldo College and Arellano University – try to find some sort of consistency as they square off today in the resumption of the 93rd NCAA seniors basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.

Tip off is at 2 o’clock, with the well-rested Generals (2-2) out to move up to solo third spot and the Chiefs (2-3), currently locked up in a four-way tie from fifth to eighth, equally eager to bounce back from a 75-82 loss dealt by the Letran Knights last week.

Mapua and St. Benilde, another pair of slumping squads at the tail-end of the 10-team field with identical 1-4 marks, part ways in their 4 p.m. encounter.

Much of the focus, however, will be given on the initial offering, with EAC, fresh from a two-week break, hoping to gain a big follow-up to a hard-earned 77-72 win over undermanned Mapua last July 25.

Generals coach Ariel Sison knows it’s easier said than done since his wards have yet to live up to the pre-season hype as the legit darkhorse who could foil San Beda’s title-retention bid and upstage other title-worthy challengers like pacesetting Lyceum.

And EAC’s early struggles should be pinned on the inconsistent form being displayed by Cameroon center Hamadou Laminou who has yet to regain his full strength since being hampered by a knee injury barely three months ago.

“Very slow pa siya. Nahihirapan pa siya sa lateral (movements) niya. Nasa adjustment pa rin siya sa kanyang ginagawa last year,” said Sison of the 6-foot-10 Laminou who only scored two points the last time out. “He still has to get back to his (usual) rhythm.”

And so are the Chiefs, last year’s bridesmaid finishers who have been dealing with their own predicament following the departure of top playmaker Jiovani Jalalon who is now making a good account of himself with the Star Hotshots in the pro ranks.

“Start pa lang ng season, struggle na talaga kami. Patawid-tawid lang kami,” admitted Arellano coach Jerry Codiñera who is still searching for the right mix among the Chiefs bannered by cat-quick guard Kent Salado and athletic big man Lervin Flores.

“We’re still looking for good combinations. Hindi lang magkatugma-tugma. And that’s been the challenge for us.”