by Waylon Galvez
Games Today (The Arena, San Juan)
8 a.m. – Mapua vs Letran (Jrs)
10 a.m. – Perpetual Help vs Arellano (Jrs)
12 n.n. – Mapua vs Letran (Srs)
2 p.m. – Perpetual Help vs Arellano (Srs)
4 p.m. – SSC-R vs St. Benilde (Srs)
6 p.m. – SSC-R vs St. Benilde (Jrs)
College of Saint Benilde shoots for a share of the lead with defending three-time champion San Beda as it tackles skidding San Sebastian College in the 95th NCAA men’s basketball tournament today at The Arena in San Juan.
CSB is currently at second spot with a 3-0 card while league-leading San Beda University holds a 4-0 record.
The Blazers, however, are in for a tough encounter against the Stags – a team determined to end a two-game skid after a solid 2-0 start – as the two teams clash in the main senior’s game at 4 p.m.
Also out to end its own three-game losing skid is coach Frankie Lim’s University of Perpetual Help as the Altas face host school Arellano University in the second senior’s match at 2 p.m.
The red-hot Letran Knights, meanwhile, gun for their fifth straight win as they collide against Intramuros neighbor Mapua Cardinals – the only winless team in the 10-team field – at 12 noon.
The 3-0 start of St. Benilde is its best in 14 years following a 71-67 victory over Mapua last Thursday.
Blazers mentor TY Tang said he sees big improvements on his players after a disappointing campaign last season.
“I think they are more emotional this time around,” said Tang, a former La Salle stalwart who also had a solid PBA stint with Rain or Shine. “There are lots of lessons, especially coming out of our last season.”
“The experience, the maturity, playing their roles and responsibilities, they come to understand, and the solidarity,” said Tang, who hopes to steer St. Benilde to its first Final Four stint since 2002.
CSB will face a San Sebastian side that suffered back-to-back defeats the previous week after the Stags lost to the Lyceum Pirates (80-69) and then to the Red Lions (73-59) for a 2-2 card.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs will enter their encounter opposite the Altas on a high following an 86-77 win against the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals last Friday ended a three-game skid. Arellano is currently tied at 1-3 with Perpetual Help.
“We hope to sustain what we gained from our last game. It’s a moral-boosting victory for the team, for the Arellano community. But we expect a tough game with Perpetual Help,” said Arellano coach Cholo Martin.