Red Lions, Stags collide for NCAA lead
MANILA—San Beda and San Sebastian put their winning streaks on the line when they clash Friday in the last playdate of the first round of the 87th NCAA basketball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
The two squads go into the 4 p.m. duel with perfect 8-0 records. It is their first meeting since their title showdown last season won by the Lions via a two-game sweep.
Letran hopes to stay within striking distance of the top two when it faces Jose Rizal U in the first game at 2 p.m.
With a 6-2 card, the Knights can post their best first-round finish in three years with a victory over the Bombers, who are coming off a victory over the Lyceum Pirates last Monday.
San Beda coach Frankie Lim expects the battle to be tougher this time as the Lions face a tall and athletic San Sebastian squad without last year’s Most Valuable Player Sudan Daniel.
“It’s going to be different without Su (Daniel),” said Lim. “I guess all my big men will have to really step up against San Sebastian.”
San Beda’s Dave Marcelo, Kyle Pascual, Jake Pascual and David Semerad will be tested by the Stags, led by Ian Sangalang and Calvin Abueva.
Marcelo has been doing damage on the offensive end as well, averaging 13 points in the last two games. San Beda’s main man this year, though, has been Garvo Lanete, whose clutch shooting has given the Lions a lift during close games.
Sangalang and Abueva have been a force to reckon with in the first eight games, averaging double-double outputs in points and rebounds.
And together with Ronald Pascual, they have formed the Stags’ own version of a “Big Three.”
“We have to limit Sangalang, Abueva and Pascual,” Lim stressed.
The game will also be a big test for Stags coach Topex Robinson, who is on his first season as San Sebastian coach.
“Against San Beda, we need to play more than 100 percent,” said Robinson.
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