Red Lions seek repeat over Blazers; Chiefs face Stags
SAN BEDA seeks to tighten its grip of top spot when the Red Lions clash with the winless St. Benilde Blazers at the start of the second round of the 92nd NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Armed with an 8-1 record, the Lions are fancied to prevail in the noon tussle with the Blazers, who dropped all nine games in the first round.
San Beda barely missed sweeping the first round last week after suffering a 73-79 loss to a rejuvenated Jose Rizal U last Tuesday.
But the Lions, led by rookie Davon Potts and Nigerian center Donald Tankhoua, will be looking to come out stronger against the Blazers, whom they demolished, 90-63, in their first round meeting.
“I keep reminding the players that teams will be tougher in the second round and we can’t afford to underestimate anyone,” said Jarin.
Tied at second with 7-2 records, Arellano U and Perpetual Help hope to stay within striking distance of San Beda as they battle San Sebastian and Emilio Aguinaldo College, respectively.
The Chiefs will be facing a San Sebastian squad desperate to end an eight-game slide. With the backcourt tandem of Jio Jalalon and Kent Salado spearheading the charge, the Chiefs blitzed the opposition with their suffocating defense and a sleek transition game in the first round.
The Stags have unveiled a gem of a rookie in the streak shooting RK Ilagan, but they have struggled to cope against the league’s top teams, particularly the ones with foreign reinforcements.
The Altas are the hottest team in the league next to the Lions, winning seven of their last eight in a game built around an airtight defense and steady dose of inside points from Bright Akhuetie in crunchtime.
With Akhuetie also anchoring the defense, Perpetual Help held opponents to a league-best 62.7 points.
“Defense will be our ticket to the Final Four,” said Perpetual coach Jimwell Gican.
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