Lions stake solo lead vs Stags todayBy Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
DEFENDING CHAMPION San Beda stakes the solo lead against San Sebastian in a rematch of last year’s finalists resuming action in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament today at San Juan Arena.
The Red Lions (6-1) battle the Stags (6-2) in the featured match at 6 p.m. with San Sebastian hoping to bounce back after a 61-54 loss to Mapua last Aug. 8.
Jose Rizal, tied with SSC for second, collides with Letran earlier at 4 p.m.
Two playdates were cancelled last week due to inclement weather.
Despite a lopsided loss to the Lions, the Bombers hope to recover their rhythm against the Knights, who are running fifth at 4-3 after a three-game winning run.
The San Sebastian-San Beda match will feature two teams that figured in last year’s finals which the Lions swept for their second straight title.
The Lions, whose only loss was an 88-87 decision from the Perpetual Help Altas, are coming off a morale-boosting 62-37 rout of the Bombers last Aug. 4 when San Beda employed an unforgiving defense to silence the Bombers.
“We need that kind of defense against Jose Rizal for us to have a chance against San Sebastian,” said SBC coach Ronnie Magsanoc.
The Lions need to put the cuffs on Stags’ Calvin Abueva, Ian Sangalang and Ronald Pascual, who are averaging a combined 55 points per game.
Guard Abueva is also leading the league in scoring (20.4 points), rebounds (17.4 boards) and assists (6.2).
The first round of the tournament wraps up next Thursday with traditional rivals San Beda and Letran squaring off in the main game.