College of St. Benilde (CSB) shoots for a share of the lead anew when it battles the dangerous San Sebastian College-Recoletos in Season 95 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) seniors basketball tournament today at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
The Blazers (3-0) take on the Golden Stags (2-1) in the 4 p.m. main game, aiming for a fourth straight win that will push them to the top with defending champion San Beda University.
In the other games, Colegio de San Juan de Letran (4-1) eyes a fifth consecutive triumph against the winless Mapua University (0-4) at noontime while Arellano University (1-3) goes for back-to-back victories versus the skidding University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (1-3) at 2 p.m.
Facing a formidable foe, third-year head coach TY Tang wants his Blazers to stay focused.
“It’s going to be another tough game. I couldn’t really say that it’s going to be an acid test, but again we’re taking it one game at a time. That’s our mentality right now,” he said.
Tang will rely on veterans Edward Dixon, Kendrix Belgica and Cameroonian center Clement Leutcheu while hoping that sophomore forward Justin Gutang has already recovered from an apparent leg injury he sustained in CSB’s 71-67 over NCAA On Tour host Mapua last Thursday.
On the other hand, San Sebastian will try to bounce back from a 59-73 defeat to San Beda that saw the Stags lead for most of the game only to lose steam in the final quarter.
The Egay Macaraya-mentored Baste will bank on Allyn Bulanadi, Alvin Capobres and Arjan Dela Cruz while ace guard RK Ilagan is raring to snap out of his shooting slump.
Meanwhile, Letran seeks a convincing win as it looks to stretch its streak against Mapua, which is still on the hunt for its first victory this season.
But first-year coach Bonnie Tan knows that his Knights could not just take the Cardinals lightly.
“Mapua is another well-coached team with a lot of good rookies. There is not team that we can take it easy this season. All of the teams are balanced,” said Tan, whose squad is coming off a tough 91-89 win over Emilio Aguinaldo College last week.
Letran will lean on Jerrick Balanza, Bonbon Batiller and Ato Ular while Mapua will pin its hopes on Laurenz Victoria, Paolo Hernandez and Noah Lugo.