Arellano University battles Mapua Institute of Technology while San Beda College and University of Perpetual Help System Dalta collide in a couple of big games that will decide the Final Four landscape of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 92 men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Chiefs, who are on top with a 13-3 (win-loss) slate, are gunning for an outright twice-to-beat advantage with a triumph over the Cardinals, who are at joint third with the Altas on 11-5 cards, in their 2 p.m. duel.
The Lions, currently at solo second with a 12-4 mark, are looking to join Arellano as they tangle with the unpredictable Altas at 4 p.m.
Arellano coach Jerry Codiñera stresses the importance of the incentive.
“It will help us a lot if we have the twice-to-beat advantage,” he said.
Mapua and Perpetual Help, of course, will not make it easy for Arellano and San Beda as the former two are looking for a win that will keep them in the race for the twice-to-beat edge.
The Chiefs remained at No. 1 by smashing the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 79-68, Thursday while the Lions stayed at the No. 2 by outlasting the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates, 89-73, on September 9.
Mapua, for its part, joined Perpetual Help at No. 3 with a 77-72 win over last year’s title-holder Letran.
The Las Piñas-based school fell to Lyceum, 61-64, that allowed Mapua to catch up.
Perpetual Help mentor Jimwell Gican has high hopes they could take advantage of the mismatch that their Nigerians, Bright Akhuetie and Prince Eze, would create against a San Beda squad missing Cameroonian Donald Tankoua, who is out the rest of the season due to an ACL injury.
“It will not be easy but we will try to take advantage of it,” said Gican.
Meanwhile, Emilio Aguinaldo (5-11) faces St. Benilde (0-16) in a non-bearing contest at 12 noon.