DEFENDING champion San Beda College and Letran College, the top two teams in the standing face each other on Monday in the 89th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament elimination round at The Arena in San Juan City.
It’s not just pride at stake when they collide at 6 p.m. But the two teams are using their second meeting as possible preview for anothe Finals appearance. Both are already assured of Final Four slots and twice-to-beat advantages.
In the other seniors’ match, Lyceum of the Philippines seeks for their eighth win when they meet host College of St. Benilde at 1 p.m. while the reigning titlist San Beda Red Cubs stake their 16-0 unbeaten slate as they take on the Letran Squires at 4 p.m. in the lone secondary match.
Coach Caloy Garcia of the Knights, who are leading the standing with 14-3 win-loss slate, expressed confidence over the Red Lions mainly due to their 74-67 victory in the first round of the elimination last August 24, courtesy of Raymond Almazan, who finished with 22 points on top of 11 rebounds and three block shots.
The victory by Letran over the Red Lions in their first encounter, enabled the Intramuros-based squad to top the first round of the eliminations with 8-1 card.
But things have changed for the Red Lions after that setback as they slowly regained their confidence that made them climbed back to the second spot with a 13-3 card. Letran’s three setbacks were at the hands of University of Perpetual Help (66-80) on August 15, while the second was to the Lyceum Pirates (76-80) on September 5 and to the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals (64-87) on Sept. 21.