DEFENDING champion San Beda College Red Lions and University of Perpetual Help Dalta System Altas, two teams tied at second spot, part ways on Saturday when they face each other in the 89th NationalCollegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The four-peat seeking Red Lions and last year’s semifinalist Altasare currently locked with identical 5-1 win-loss slate and the winner will remain at second and within striking distance from solo leader Letran Knights, the only unbeaten team with a clean 6-0 card.
A loss either by the Red Lions or the Altas will drop to solo third
and just half a game up over solo fourth San Sebastian College Stags, who are bearing a 4-2 record. Coach Boyet Fernandez’s Red Lions face the Altas at 4 p.m. while the San Sebastian Stags take on Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers at 6 p.m. The high school matches pit reigning titlist San Beda Red Cubs against the Altalettes at 12 noon while the Staglets and the Light Bombers collide at 2 p.m.
San Beda’s lone setback was at the hands of Lyceum Pirates, 70-66, on June 24. But from there the Red Lions surged to four straight victories, the most recent was a 65-41 rout over Jose Rizal Bombers on Saturday.
The Altas, on the other hand, suffered their lone setback to the San Sebastian Stags, 77-78, on July 8. After teasting their first defeat, coach Aric del Rosario’s Altas’ bounced back with three straight wins, the last was 73-68 over Mapua Cardinals on Monday.
Since both teams are coming from big wins, their encounter is
expected to be a down-the-wire battle between two contending teams.
The Red Lions are aiming for their 18th championship crown this season while the Altas has yet to win a crown since joining the league in 1984.