With three games remaining before the first round ends, San Beda College aims to stretch its winning streak to seven when it takes on Mapua Institute of Technology in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 92 men’s basketball tournament at 4 p.m. today at The Arena in San Juan City.
Defending champion Colegio San Juan de Letran Knights will face the Jose Rizal University (JRU) Heavy Bombers in the first game at 2 p.m.
San Beda is coming off a 101-86 come-from-behind win over Arellano University last week while Mapua is upbeat with rookie Davon Potts, Cameroonian Donald Tankoua, Dan Sara, Ranbill Tongco and Jayvee Mocon playing cohesively with the whole team.
“We are happy at where we are right now but of course we must still work hard,” San Beda coach Jamike Jarin told The Manila Times on Wednesday. “Mapua is one of the contenders this season because they are good talented players. We can’t take them for granted.”
Besides Arellano, San Beda also previously defeated Letran, Lyceum, Emilio Aguinaldo College, College of Saint Benilde and Perpetual Help.
The Cardinals, currently No.2 with a 5-1 win-loss card are seeking to dislodge the Red Lions from the top. Mapua will rely on reigning Most Valuable Player Allwell Oraeme, Carlos Isit and Andrew Estrella in taming the Red Lions.
“They have the reigning rookie MVP [Oraeme] that’s why we cannot set them aside. They also have good shooters,” added Jarin. “We must double our effort against these guys. I’m sure they will do everything to beat us.”
The Knights, who were defeated by the Altas 55-61, on Friday, are keen to bounce back from previous beating when they battle the Heavy Bombers. Letran, Arellano and Perpetual Help are tied on the third to fifth spot with similar 4-2 win-loss records.
“It was a terrible game against Perpetual. We didn’t follow the game plan, so we lost that game,” said Letran coach Jeff Napa. “Against JRU, we should triple our effort. They are also one of the contenders in this league today.”
Rey Nambatac, who had a stellar 40-point performance in the previous game, will be leading the Knights anew together with the help of McJour Luib, Jerrick Balanza, John Calvo, Jomari Sollano and Felix Apreku.
JRU, on the other hand, will be banking on Teytey Teodoro who hit the game-winning basket in their 60-59 win against Emilio Aguinaldo College.
“They [Letran] are the defending champion and they are responding very well to their new coach,” said JRU mentor Vergel Meneses. “So we need discipline at both ends of the floor. We have to bring our A-Game against them. They are fun to watch.”
The Heavy Bombers are carrying a 2-3 win-loss record
Besides Teodoro, JRU will also lean on the skills of forward Mark Cruz, Jordan Dela Paz, big men Abdoulad Poutouochi and Abdulwahab AbdulRazak.