Stags out to firm up hold on No. 4
MANILA, Philippines - Streaking San Sebastian tries to pull away from its pursuers for the No. 4 spot as it plays an unpredictable St. Benilde today in the 89th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
After finishing the first round of eliminations at joint fifth, the Stags swept their first four games in the second round to firm up their hold of the fourth spot at 8-5 (win-loss) heading to the homestretch of the double-round elims.
They are two games ahead of the fifth running Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals (6-7).
A win by the Mendiola-based school in their 4 p.m. encounter will also give the Stags the longest run in the season after matching San Beda’s four-game streak for a league-leading 11-2 slate.
Perpetual Help is in second with an 11-3 card while Letran dropped to third at 10-3 following a harrowing 64-87 loss to EAC last Saturday.
Jose Rizal (5-7) and Arellano U (4-9), for their part, try to keep their slim Final Four hopes alive as they clash at 6 p.m.
“There’s no easy game in the NCAA, every game is an entire different challenge and we’re glad we’re responding well in the second round,” San Sebastian coach Topex Robinson told The STAR.
Fil-Am Leo de Vera, Bradwyn Guinto and Jon Kervin Ortuoste, however, are doubtful starters for SSC.
“De Vera was suspended last game. He’s allowed to play in our game tomorrow (today) but he’s sick. Guinto and Ortuoste are still recovering from sickness. They will be questionable in our next game, they’re day-to-day as of now,” said Robinson.
The Blazers absorbed their first blowout loss of the season, a 46-65 defeat at the hands of the Lions last Thursday to fall to No. 7 with a 5-8 slate.
San Sebastian edged St. Benilde, 80-78, in the first round last July 18.