JULY 20 ARENA GAMES
Unbeaten San Sebastian guns for the solo lead as it takes on an unpredictable Arellano U today in the 85th NCAA basketball tournament
at The Arena in San Juan City. The Stags smashed the Emilio Aguinaldo Generals to jump into a share of the lead with the Jose Rizal Bombers on 4-0 (win-loss) records and a win in their 4 p.m. duel with the Chiefs would push them atop the heap anew with a fifth straight win.
The Chiefs, for their part, have dropped two straight games after pulling off two straight victories including one at the expense of the
multi-titled Letran Knights.
And San Sebastian coach Ato Agustin thinks they’re in for a tougher time after its blowout win over EAC. “We’re facing probably one of the toughest teams this season, we can’t be too complacent against Arellano,” said Agustin, a former MVP during his days in the pros. Letran and St. Benilde seek to come out of its three-way logjam with Arellano U at No. 4 on even 2-2 (win-loss) cards as the two collide at 2 p.m. The Knights are on a two-game roll that should put them in good stead against the Blazers, who in contrast are on a two-game skid. “We hope to ride on this momentum,” said Letran mentor Louie Alas, who steered the Muralla-based school to titles in 1998, 2003 and 2005. “But for us to sustain our run, we need to focus on our game plan and not lose concentration,” he added. Alas said he still wary that his players might fall to the trap of playing flat in the third quarter.
“In our first three games, we always played bad in the third quarter. We won our last game by a big margin because we had a strong third
quarter effort. This I know would be the key again if we want to sustain our pace,” said Alas. Alas was referring to the Knights’ 73-51 thrashing of the Mapua Cardinals last week, their second in a row since dropping its first two matches. The Blazers, in contrast, fell to the Stags, 62-75, and then to the Lions, 66-86, after racing to a quick 2-0 start. Now their fortunes changed. “We hope to get back on the winning track,” said St. Benilde coach Richard del Rosario.