AFTER a break to give way to the nationwide earthquake drill, games will resume today as Letran stakes its unbeaten slate when it faces the Arellano University Chiefs in the 91st National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament elimination round at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Letran Knights, that earlier beat the San Beda Red Lions 93-80 on July 16 and the Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas 79-71 on July 23 as well as the Jose Rizal Heavy Bombers 78-62 on July 3, will collide with the Chiefs at 4 p.m. In the other two games, the Lyceum Pirates will battle the Mapua Cardinals at 2 p.m. while the San Sebastian Stags will clash against the Emilio Aguinaldo Generals at 12 p.m.
In the high school division, the San Sebastian Staglets will go against the Emilio Aguinaldo Brigadiers at 8 p.m. followed by the game between the Lyceum Junior Pirates and the Mapua Red Robins. The Letran Squires will take on the Arellano Braves at 6 p.m.
Coach Aldin Ayo’s Knights, the current solo leader with a clean 5-0 slate, need to win today’s game to avoid a possible three-way tie at the top spot with the Arellano Chiefs and San Beda Red Lions. The five-peat champions Red Lions are carrying a 5-1 slate at solo second while the Chiefs are not far behind with a 4-1 record.
“We haven’t accomplished anything yet, I still think we’re the underdogs,” said Ayo, who will lean on the trio of Mark Cruz, Rey Nambatac and Kevin Racal.
The Arellano Chiefs’ lone defeat was at the hands of the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 61-78, during the opening day on June 27. But since then coach Jerry Codinera’s team posted four straight victories, the most recent was over the San Sebastian Stags, 104-92, on July 24.
“We have to be ready against them and we will,” said Arellano coach Jerry Codinera of Arellano. The Chiefs and Letran Knights are leading the league’s stats on steals with 11.60 and 10.80, respectively.