Stags, Knights seek revenge vs spoilersBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
SAN Sebastian seeks payback against Mapua today even as Final Four hopeful Letran battles a Saint Benilde teetering on the brink in the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Hoping to stay on the heels of the San Beda Red Lions, the Stags shoot for win No. 11 at 4 p.m. against one of the two teams that dealt them a loss in the first round.
“Every game is important and we have to be ready for this final stretch of the second round,” said San Sebastian coach Allan Trinidad. “We will have very tough games ahead.”
Banking on a strong start, the Cardinals pounced on the lethargic Stags in their first meeting last Aug. 6, coming away with a 61-54 victory.
But the game takes extra significance for Mapua, which is trying to stay in the Final Four race that partly opened up following losses by Perpetual Help and Jose Rizal last Saturday.
Letran and St. Benilde clash in the second game at 6 p.m. with the Knights hoping to close in on the Altas and the Bombers.
The clash will feature two of the finest scorers in the league in Kevin Alas and Carlo Lastimosa.
The Blazers stunned the Knights, 77-60, in the first round with guard Joel Tolentino playing his finest game of the season so far with 21 points.
Saint Benilde holds very slim hopes of reaching the postseason.
But they would have to deal with the threat posed by Alas, who is keen on reprising his 30-point effort in the 76-60 rout of Lyceum last Thursday.
San Sebastian has been heavily relying on the tremendous trio of Calvin Abueva, Ian Sangalang and Ronald Pascual this season. But reserves Joseph Gusi and Michael Miranda have also stepped up in the last two games.