San Beda shoots for a Final Four spot anew as it tackles first round nemesis Jose Rizal University as University of Perpetual Help System Dalta and Arellano University collide today in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 92 men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Red Lions failed to clinch it on Friday after being beaten by the Mapua Cardinals, 97-101, in overtime but a second chance is present today when they square off with the Bombers at 2 p.m. It will not be a walk in the park as JRU displayed its strength by beating San Beda, 79-73, in their first round meeting on August 9.
The Red Lions will be without Donald Tankoua for the fifth straight game after the Cameroonian suffered a season-ending right anterior cruciate ligament injury last month. San Beda lost two of its last four games without Tankoua.
“We have to step up as a team not just rely on one, two or three players,” said San Beda coach Jamike Jarin.
The Bombers are expected to unleash Abdel Poutouochi and AbdulRazak AbdulWahab to exploit Tankoua’s absence.
“San Beda is still a strong team but we’ll try to take advantage of that hole inside,” said Jose Rizal coach Vergel Meneses.
Perpetual Help and Arellano, now sharing the No.2 spot with identical 10-3 records, aim to stay close with San Beda as the two tackle Lyceum of the Philippines U (5-9) at 12 noon and defending champion Letran (7-7) at 4 p.m.
The Altas are upbeat coming off a 92-76 rout of the Chiefs on September 1 when they face the Knights.
EMIL C. NOGUERA