Lions eye key win vs Cards
‘NC’ wars erupt in Subic todayBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Reigning champion San Beda tries to move closer to the No. 1 seeding heading into the Final Four of the NCAA basketball tournament when it takes on Mapua today at Subic Freeport in Subic Bay.
The Red Lions are eyeing their eighth straight victory and 14th overall in the 4 p.m. clash with the Cardinals, who will be fighting to keep their Final Four hopes alive.
With second-running San Sebastian already with four losses, the Lions can secure at least a playoff berth for the top seeding with a win over the Cardinals.
The Cardinals’ postseason hopes also hinge on the outcome of the duel between Perpetual Help and Lyceum in the second game at 6 p.m.
A win by the Altas will effectively snuff out the Cardinals’ hopes of reaching the Final Four, along with those of Emilio Aguinaldo College, even if Mapua wins against San Beda.
The Cardinals go into the game buoyed by a stunning win over the Altas last week, where Jonathan Banal fired a season-high 21 points.
But the Lions are in fiery form with veterans like Jake Pascual, Rome Dela Rosa and Baser Amer getting their acts together with newcomers Art dela Cruz and Ola Adeogun.
“We want to continue improving because we still have many more important games ahead,” said San Beda coach Ronnie Magsanoc.
Aside from Banal, the Lions will also have to deal with the threat posed by Mike Parala and Josan Nimes. Parala, who is the Cardinals’ leading scorer with close to 14 points per outing, went scoreless against the Altas.
The Pirates are hoping to play spoilers against the Altas, who are closing in on a first Final Four berth since 2004.
The Altas prevailed in their first-round game, 82-74, last July 28.
San Beda will be seeking a repeat of its 62-54 conquest of Mapua in the first round.