Last year’s first runner-up San Beda College and Mapua Institute of Technology are both gunning for their third straight win when they face separate foes today in the resumption of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 92 men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Red Lions, with a 2-0 win-loss record, will meet the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals in the second game at 2 p.m. while the Cardinals battle the winless Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates in the first game at 12 noon.
Jose Rizal University (JRU) and College of Saint Benilde are both on a hunt for a first win when they collide against each other at 4 p.m.
Though San Beda beat Letran College 89-85 in the opener and Lyceum 91-86 in its second game, Red Lions coach Jamike Jarin warned his wards not to take the Generals lightly. EAC was coming off a 64-57 win over Lyceum and almost pulled off an upset against Letran two weeks ago.
“They have improved a lot and we cannot take them [Generals] for granted. We have to play tough and smart against them,” said Jarin.
San Beda will rely on the prowess of rookie gunner Davon Potts, Dan Sara, Donald Tankoua and Arnaud Noah in subduing the Generals.
EAC, on the other, will be led by Cameroonian Hamadou Laminou who posted an average of 19.5 points, 15.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in their first two games. Providing additional firepower are Igee King, Jorem Morada and Francis Munsayac.
Meanwhile, Coach Atoy Co of the Cardinals believes the Pirates are dangerous considering they are coming off two straight losses.
“100 percent they are dangerous. Knowing that they are 0-2, they will do whatever it takes to pull off a win and we can’t afford that win will come through us,” Co told The Manila Times. “Every game is crucial for us because we really wanted to get into the Final Four.”
“San Beda almost lost to Lyceum, but Potts took charge and saved them. Lyceum is a strong team.”
The Cardinals previously outlasted the Heavy Bombers and the Blazers to stay undefeated in two games
Reigning Most Valuable Player Allwell Oraeme, who tallied 20.5 points and 19 rebounds plus three blocks in two games, will be leading the charge for Mapua together with guard CJ Isit and Andrew Estrella.
The Pirates under coach Topex Robinson, still winless in two outings, will bank on swingman Wilson Baltazar and Mike Nzeusseu to notch their first victory.
In the juniors division, defending champion San Beda High School remains unbeaten after crushing Perpetual Help 95-63 at The Arena in San Juan City on Monday.
Joshua Tagala finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds, four steals, two assists and a block, to lead the Red Cubs to their fourth win in a row.
The Junior Altas’ record dropped to a single win and three losses.
In the other game, Jose Rizal overpowered San Sebastian 68-60, to record its first win after three straight losses.
The Staglets, meanwhile, absorbed their fourth straight loss.
Last week, the NCAA took a one-week break to give way to the country’s hosting of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.