(Filoil EcoOil Centre)
2 p.m. — Arellano vs San Beda
4 p.m. — San Sebastian vs JRU
San Beda University guns for a share of the top spot as it takes on lowly Arellano University in Season 99 National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan today.
The Red Lions, who are currently at second place with a 7-2 win-loss record, will also be aiming for its fifth straight win.
A victory today would give San Beda a share at the top spot with Mapua University, which currently has an 8-2 card.
Also duking it out in this double-header are San Sebastian College and host Jose Rizal University at 4 p.m.
The Heavy Bombers, who are currently at fourth with a 6-4 record, are aiming to bounce back from a 96-99 overtime loss against Lyceum of the Philippines University last Tuesday and improve their Final Four hopes.
But all eyes will be on San Beda, which is looking to improve its chances of securing a twice-to-beat advantage for the first time since 2018.
The Lions, who have already spent a year under head coach Yuri Escueta, keep on roaring in the tournament as their key players keep on growing.
Jacob Cortez, who started his collegiate career in Season 97, is currently the league’s second-best scorer in the first round with 15.44 points.
The Red Lions’ height advantage put them on top of the second chance points rankings at the end of the first round with an average of 15.33 points.
Escueta said having both former San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez and former Ateneo de Manila University mentor Norman Black as his consultants boosted their think-tank resulting in more productive plays.
Fernandez led the Red Lions to four NCAA titles in 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018 while Black, who is now a consultant for the Meralco Bolts in the Philippine Basketball Association, steered the Blue Eagles to five-straight University Athletic Association of the Philippines titles from 2008 to 2012.
“I always told my players it’s a privilege to have a five-time UAAP champion coach and a four-time NCAA coach with us,” said Escueta, who played for Black in Ateneo in 2008.
“I’m fine if they don’t listen to me but they have to remember that everything I taught to them came from these two.”