(Filoil EcoOil Centre)
2 p.m. — Lyceum vs Arellano
4 p.m. — San Beda vs Letran
San Beda University looks to add onto the woes of defending champion Letran College when they clash today in Season 99 National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
Game time is at 4 p.m. with the Red Lions and the Knights going at it again to add another chapter to their storied rivalry in the oldest collegiate league in the country.
Armed with a 2-1 win-loss record, San Beda currently shares fourth place with Emilio Aguinaldo College while Letran has already lost thrice.
Opening today’s double-header is league-leading Lyceum of the Philippines University which shooting for a fifth straight victory against the winless Arellano University at 2 p.m.
The Pirates will be banking on shooting guard John Barba, who scored 20 points in their 83-72 win over San Sebastian College last Tuesday.
But all eyes will be on the Lions and the Knights.
‘It’s always going to be a tough game. The standings don’t matter.’
San Beda head coach Yuri Escueta said he and his boys will be at their absolute best against Letran and would not even think about underestimating the Knights despite their slow start.
“Every time you play against Letran, you have to prepare. We played against them a lot in the preseason and last year,” Escueta said.
“It’s always going to be a tough game. The standings don’t matter.”
The Lions will have Jacob Cortez to lean on after a 20-point performance against College of Saint Benilde last Sunday with Yukien Andrada following suit also with 20 points to his name.
Letran head coach Rensy Bajar isn’t fazed at all despite the slow start the defending champion is experiencing this year.
“We would often go our own ways down the stretch since half of the team is composed of rookies. We only had seven veterans on the team,” said Bajar, who replaced head coach Bonnie Tan in the offseason.
“This isn’t the time to panic. We have to trust the system and trust one another. That’s what we need.”
Deo Cuajao will have to do better against San Beda after a 12-point performance versus EAC while Kurt Reyson is looking to get out of a shooting funk after only firing 1-of-12 from the field for the Knights.