(Filoil EcoOil Centre)
1:30 p.m. — Saint Benilde vs Lyceum
3:30 p.m. — San Beda vs Perpetual
Lyceum of the Philippines University aims for a share of the lead when it squares off with College of Saint Benilde in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 99 men’s basketball tournament today at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
Game time is set at 1:30 p.m. followed by the 3:30 p.m. tussle between San Beda University and University of Perpetual Help System Dalta.
The Pirates currently sit at solo second spot with a 10-3 win-loss record just within striking distance from idle league leader Mapua University (11-3).
Perched at the third spot are the Blazers, who are on a five-game win streak, holding a 9-4 card.
Lyceum, however, holds a psychological advantage over last year’s runner-up which it beat 85-81 during the season opener last 24 September.
But Pirates head coach Gilbert Malabanan expects a scrappy match with Saint Benilde as both squads want to boost their Final Four chances.
“I think it’s going to be a good fight against Saint Benilde because the Blazers are looking at the standings as well. I told them every team will fight hard in the second round because everybody wants to be in the Final Four,” Malabanan said.
“We share the same goals with the other teams: making it to the Final Four.”
Blazers head coach Charles Tiu believes it will again be a close fight but is optimistic the result will be on their favor this time.
“Defensively, we have been okay. We have been sticking through our strengths and focusing on our game plan,” Tiu said. “More or less, they have been listening to our instructions so it’s been working for us.”
Saint Benilde will again rely on reigning Most Valuable Player Will Gozum following a 27-point explosion in the team’s 84-81 win over Jose Rizal University last Tuesday.
Lyceum, on the other hand, will bank on team captain Enoch Valdez and Mclaude Guadaña who showed the way in the team’s 85-79 win over defending champion Letran College last Sunday.