Lions resume bid against Stags sans Tankoua
SAN BEDA begins life without injured Cameroonian center Donald Tankoua as the pacesetting Red Lions clash with the San Sebastian Stags Tuesday in the 92nd NCAA basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Two more games, each with huge Final Four repercussions, are also on tap with Mapua facing dangerous Lyceum and resurgent Jose Rizal U tangling with struggling Letran.
With a 6-4 record, the Cardinals are hard pressed to keep fourth spot with the Pirates, Heavy Bombers and Knights all locked in a tie from fifth to seventh spot with 5-5 records.
The Pirates will count on big man Mike Nzeusseu as they try to cope with the towering Allwell Oraeme inside the paint.
The Bombers hope to carry the momentum of their wins over San Beda and Mapua against the Knights, who have lost three of their last four games.
Lyceum and Jose Rizal are coming off inspiring triumphs with Lyceum pulling the rug from under Letran, 68-66, and Jose Rizal dumping Mapua, 65-60, Thursday.
The 6-foot-6 Tankoua has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) against Emilio Aguinaldo College last Friday.
Although the Lions remain heavy favorites in the noon battle, they will be facing a San Sebastian squad riding high on a stunning 71-55 upset of Perpetual Help last Friday.
San Beda coach Jamike Jarin hopes the Lions rally behind Tankoua’s absence as they try to keep top spot.
“We can’t fill the vacuum he (Tankoua) left by just one or two players, we need to do it by committee,” said Jarin, who will now count on Benedict Adamos, Calvin Optana, Antonio Bonsubre, Raniel Navarro and another Cameroonian, Arnaud Noah, to step up in Tankoua’s absence.
The 6-6 Adamos responded to the challenge against EAC, finishing with 11 points and seven boards.
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