DEFENDING champion San Beda College Red Lions will try to bag a crucial win when they face the Arellano Chiefs at 6 p.m. today while Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals and Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals battle for pride at 4 p.m. in the last elimination games of the 89th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Red Lions are currently leading the standing with a 14-3 card and are already assured of a twice-to-beat advantage, but coach Boyet Fernandez wants his team to win over the Chiefs today to prevent a possible tie with second-front running Letran (14-4) at the end of the elimination round.
In case of a tie, a playoff will be in order to determine the no.1 and no. 2 team. The Final Four format pits the no. 1 against no. 4 while no. 2 faces no. 3 with the top two seeds enjoying a twice-to-beat incentives.
The secondary matches pit EAC Brigadiers against the Mapua Red Robins at 12 p.m. and the reigning titlist San Beda Red Cubs against the Arellano Braves at 2 p.m.
The other two semifinalists are San Sebastian College-Recoletos Stags and the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas, which both completed the elimination round with identical 11-7 records. They will break the tie in a playoff on Tuesday with the loser finishing fourth and the winner occupying the third spot.
Coach Koy Banal’s Arellano team, which is bearing an 8-9 card, could still finished fifth, which is an improvement of their 8th place finish (6-12) last year.