Red Lions, Blazers dispute NCAA solo lead
A College of St. Benilde side reeling from manpower woes gets a real acid test on Friday when the Blazers dispute the solo NCAA Season 95 lead with powerhouse defending champion San Beda at Filoil Flying V Centre.
Unbeaten in four games and never having a start this good since 1998, the Blazers and the Red Lions slug it out in the 12 noon match, with Benilde hoping to validate the sharpness in its form even with hard-nosed post defender Justin Gutang injured.
“We have to make do with what we have. Luckily, I have players that are always ready for the challenge,” CSB head coach Ty Tang said.
Gutang injured his left knee against the Mapua Cardinals, while rugged forward Mark Sangco came out with a bloodied forehead in another triumphant outing against the San Sebastian Stags.
The Lions, in contrast to how Benilde needed to dig deep to pull out those four wins, have devoured their first four rivals, and, this early, look like the team to beat.
The Stags (2-3) will attempt to check a three-game slide when they battle the Perpetual Altas at 2 p.m. even as the Arellano-Lyceum tiff at 4 p.m. brings the curtains down on the triple header.
Senegalese center Clement Leutcheu and Yankee Haruna are also in the process of recovery from their respective injuries, leaving Tang to lean mostly on Kendrix Belgica, Edward Dixon and Jimboy Pasturan.
In their come-from-behind win over the Stags, it was rookie Chris Flores who filled in for Gutang.
As for the Lions, their solid core delivered as expected when San Beda overpowered the Stags the last time out with Calvin Oftana making his presence felt.
San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez can also rely on graduating Donald Tankoua, Clint Doliguez and “bandana boys” James Kwekuteye and Evan Nelle.
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