NCAA: Clean JRU slate faces strong SSC challengeBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Jose Rizal University—the only unbeaten team in the 88th NCAA tournament—faces its toughest foe yet when it clashes with powerhouse San Sebastian Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Bombers seek their fourth straight victory in the 6 p.m. duel with the Stags, who are looking to extend their winning run to three games after dropping their first assignment.
Lyceum and Arellano—two teams coming off victories against traditional powerhouses in the league—battle in the first seniors’ game at 4 p.m.
The Pirates are targeting a third straight victory, after bringing down Mapua, 78-74, in a thrilling duel Thursday night.
As in their past two wins, the Pirates’ chances will hinge on the performances of backcourt players Chris Cayabyab and Shane Ko, who tallied a career-high 23 points in the win against the Cardinals.
The Chiefs are coming off one of the biggest upsets of the season when they trounced Letran, 77-67, last Saturday with Filipino-Canadian guard James Forrester delivering 18 points and 11 rebounds.
The spotlight will be on JRU gunner Nate Matute, whose early-season explosion has boosted coach Vergel Meneses’ Bombers to their finest start in years.
On his fourth playing year, the 5-foot-11 Matute is averaging 25 points in the Bombers’ first three games, built on a remarkable 15 of 23 shooting from beyond the arc.
The Bombers have thus far beaten Mapua (65-64), Arellano U (77-65) and EAC (90-79).
San Sebastian center Ian Sangalang has been throwing his weight around, posting 22 points per game, while last year’s MVP Calvin Abueva has also chipped in monster numbers of 18.7 points, 18.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists.