Knights seek victory No. 9 vs feisty Stags
Letran seeks to tighten its hold of the top spot today when it clashes with a dangerous San Sebastian squad, even as San Beda tries to bounce back from a disappointing performance the last time out at the start of the second round of the 91st NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Knights shoot for a ninth victory in the 4 p.m. duel with the Stags, who are looking to mount an assault for a Final Four berth after a poor first round that saw them win just two of their nine outings.
Tied for second spot with the idle Perpetual Help Altas, the defending champion Red Lions tangle with the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals at 2 p.m.
A victory by the Lions coupled by a loss for the Knights in the second game could see San Beda sharing the lead with Letran. Defeat for the defending champions, though, could see them slide down to third, just a half a game ahead of the Arellano Chiefs.
Already without ace playmaker Baser Amer, the Lions suffered another blow with Nigerian center Ola Adeogun serving a one-game suspension for shattering the glass door of their locker room at halftime of their loss to the Arellano Chiefs last Tuesday.
Without Adeogun, the Lions will look to Donald Tankoua for inside scoring after the Cameroonian dished out a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds in the last game against the Chiefs.
A contender in the MVP race, Art dela Cruz is also expected to come up with a better showing after making just four of his 19 shots in the game against Arellano.
“It’s behind us now and we hope to learn from it,” said San Beda rookie coach Jamike Jarin.
Despite their woeful record, the Generals are no strangers to pulling off huge upsets as they dealt the Knights their only loss so far this season with the quartet of Sydney Onwubere, Remy Morada, Francis Munsayac and Hamadou Laminou leading their bid.
The Knights hope to sustain their fine form as they seek a repeat over the Stags, whom they narrowly beat, 82-76, in the first round.
Letran coach Aldin Ayo said the team’s mindset hasn’t changed despite their early achievement.
“We’re just halfway through the tournament, we need to stay hungry,” said Ayo.
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