San Beda University and Lyceum of the Philippines University clash head-on in a titanic finals rematch in Season 95 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) seniors basketball tournament today at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Fierce figures in the past two championship series, the Red Lions (6-0) and the Pirates (6-1) renew their rivalry in the 4 p.m. main game.
In the other matches, Colegio de San Juan de Letran (5-2) looks to get back into the win column against the skidding San Sebastian College-Recoletos (2-3) at 12 n.n. while University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (2-5) battles cellar-dweller Emilio Aguinaldo College (1-6) at 2 p.m.
San Beda is keen on keeping its unbeaten run going to remain on top of the 10-team standings.
The four-peat seeking Lions are also eyeing to extend their mastery over the Pirates, who they swept twice in the finals.
But San Beda’s veteran tactician Boyet Fernandez acknowledges that Lyceum remains as dangerous as ever.
“If we are preparing hard for the other teams, probably we will double our efforts against Lyceum. I have so much respect for them. It will be tough for us again but hopefully we can bring our defensive mentality and be consistent,” said Fernandez.
Sophomore guards Evan Nelle and James Canlas as well as Cameroonian center Donald Tankoua, Clint Doliguez and AC Soberano are expected to sustain the Lions’ blistering offense from their 102-56 rout of Perpetual Help — the biggest winning margin this season — last Friday.
Lyceum, however, is eager to steal the league leadership and stretch its five-game winning streak capped by a shaky 74-71 win against erstwhile unbeaten College of St. Benilde also four days ago.
Head coach Topex Robinson though knows that it will be a tall order for his Pirates.
“It’s gonna be a big test for us as we play the mighty San Beda. But we’re always gonna be up for the challenge,” said Robinson.
Ace player Jaycee Marcelino, Cameroonian big man Mike Nzeusseu and seasoned guard Reymar Caduyac are tabbed to lead the Pirates’ charge.
Meanwhile, San Sebastian mentor Egay Macaraya is suspended due to an unsportsmanlike act during a timeout in their game against Lyceum last July 23 while Perpetual Help coach Frankie Lim is on an indefinite leave.
Lim was asked by the Altas’ management to go on leave apparently due to their lopsided defeat to San Beda last Friday.