12nn — Arellano vs. JRU (Jrs)
2pm — San Beda vs. Letran (Jrs)
4pm — Arellano vs. JRU (Srs)
6pm — San Beda vs. Letran (Srs)
No typhoon or inclement weather can stop the titanic matchup that is about to be witnessed by thousands of faithfuls from both sides.
The San Beda Red Lions, who are seeking their fourth straight crown this year will finally collide for the first time this season against their archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran tomorrow at the state-of-the-art SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City in the elimination round of Season 89 of the NCAA.
The venue, which can hold up to almost 20 thousand fans was chosen to accommodate the high demands of having a bigger venue for the said meet. The age-old rivalry of the two schools has drawn quite a huge number of following that the NCAA decided to move the game to a large venue.
Both teams are sporting 7-1 win loss marks. The Red Lions, who won their season opener ( a 71-70 hairline win over CSB) absorbed their first defeat in their second assignment from the hands of the LPU Pirates (66-70). San Beda went on to sweep their next six games.
The Knights on the other hand went undefeated in their first seven games before bowing to the Perpetual Altas, 66-80 in their last game.
Rookie mentor Caloy Garcia of the Letran Knights is happy that the pressure is now off the backs of his players even if his team is coming off a huge loss before meeting the three-time defending champion.
“We know that San Beda won six straight games. So, I think we’ll just have to play harder. San Beda is the number 1 team. There is really no pressure on us. We’re not even seeded at the start of the season. Coming into the game, we’ll just have to work and play hard lang.”
“We’ll just have to stick together. I told them that it’s just one game. It’s better to learn your mistakes early kesa sa dulo where every game matters.” added Garcia.
The Red Lions are coming off an 83-64 huge win against the San Sebastian Stags almost two weeks ago. The long layoff may or may not take a toll on the Red Lions but their new mentor Boyet Fernandez expressed his full trust on his wards.
“They [Letran] won seven straight games. They’re leading the tournament. It will be a tough match for us most especially because Mark Cruz is playing well and Raymond Almazan has MVP numbers but I do trust my boys. If we make stops, we’ll have a fair chance.”
“It will be a tough match-up but we’ll be ready. The long break could give us some positive and negative results, baka marusty yung mga players. But it’s a good thing for us because we will be able to prepare well and the players can attend to their academic requirements.” added Fernandez.
The fierce matchup of the two well-supported teams in the NCAA would have closed the first round of eliminations but due to tropical storm Maring the past fews days, the league was forced to postpone the scheduled games last Monday (August 19) and Thursday (August 22). The postponed games will be played next Monday and Thursday respectively with the Mapua-EAC tiff as the last game for the first round.
In the curtain raiser, the Arellano University Chiefs and the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers look to close out their first round campaign with a win but they will have to outdo each other for the right to bring home the victory.
JRU currently tote a 5-3 mark while the Chiefs hold a 2-6 record. The NCAA Management Committee has yet to come out with a memo regarding the Arellano-EAC end-game fracas last Saturday, August 17. Possible sanctions might be given to players from both teams following their unsportsmanlike behaviour in EAC’s 79-63 win over Arellano.
In juniors action, the Jose Rizal University Light Bombers take on the Arellano Braves while the still undefeated San Beda Red Cubs, who are gunning for their fifth straight crown this season will try to stay spotless when they take on the Letran Squires.