The Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates will try to solidify their hold of the second spot when they battle the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (UPHSD) Altas today in the 90th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament elimination round at the San Juan Arena.
The Pirates, after beating favored teams took the second spot with a 4-2 win-loss record just a game behind co-leaders San Beda College Red Lions and new regular league member Arellano University Chiefs. San Beda and Arellano are tied at the top of the standings both bearing 5-1 cards.
A win by the Pirates over the Altas in their 2 p.m. encounter would strengthen their grip of the second position but a loss would enable the previously unbeaten Altas to regain the No.2 spot with 4-2 record (it will also drop Lyceum to the third spot with 4-3 slate).
The race for the Final Four slots intensifies as last year’s runner-up Letran Knights face Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals at 4 p.m.
The secondary matches pit the UPHSD Altalettes against the Lyceum Junior Pirates at 12 p.m. while the Letran Squires collide with the EAC Brigadiers at 6 p.m.
Both coaches Bonnie Tan of Lyceum and Aric del Rosario of the Altas are expecting a tough battle as both teams avoid further losses that would allow the San Sebastian College Stags, College of Saint Benilde Blazers and host Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers to close the gap. The Stags, the Blazers and the Bombers are locked from the fourth to sixth positions with similar 3-3 record each.
Tan will rely on veterans Shane Ko, Dexter Zamora, Paul John Soliman, Jeremiah Taladua and Cameroonians Issah Aziz Mbomiko and Guy Mellon Mbida against Perpetual Help’s big three namely Earl Scottie Thompson, Harold Arboleda and Juneric Baloria.
Team Standings W L
San Beda 5 1
Arellano U 5 1
Lyceum 4 2
Perpetual Help 3 2
Sebastian 3 3
Jose Rizal 3 3
St. Benilde 3 3
EAC 1 4
Letran 1 4
Mapua 1 6