Stags test streakin' Altas mettle

By Joey Villar, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 02 2012 10:16 AM | Updated as of Jul 02 2012 06:16 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Perpetual Help tries to sustain its dream run as it collides with powerhouse San Sebastian even as San Beda plays with a more complete lineup this time versus Lyceum today in the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.

The Altas eked out a shock 69-66 victory over title-favorite Letran Saturday that gave them share of the lead with the idle Jose Rizal Bombers.

The Las Piñas-based dribblers will have a chance to extend their amazing streak to three as they battle at 4 p.m. the dangerous Stags, who bounced back from their opening-day 74-80 loss to the Knights with a 95-93 win over the St. Benilde Blazers.

Perpetual coach Aric del Rosario knew they would be in for a tough outing against the Stags.

"They're a strong team but if they became complacent against us, we will try to upset them," said del Rosario, owner of a four-peat feat as multi-titled coach, in Filipino.

"The key though is try to play as simple as possible and stay disciplined all the time," he added.

But they would need all those attributes to pull the rug from under San Sebastian, which boasts of the strongest troika in Calvin Abueva, Ian Sangalang and Ronald Pascual.

Abueva, the reigning MVP, had a 23-point, 23-rebound effort against the Blazers while Pascual, hobbled by a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) he sustained last year, and Sangalang combined for 39 points.

The Lions, for their part, are looking to ride the crest of their 81-71 win over Arellano U last week even though they played only with just six players – four rookies, a sophomore and a transferee – following the suspensions of the rest of the team members for their involvement in a brawl last year.

With the exception of Nigerian Ola Adeogun, who is out for three more games after his ban was reduced to just a four-game suspension, Baser Amer, Anjo Caram, Rome dela Rosa, Jake Pascual, Ryussei Koga, Melo Lim, Jaypee Mendoza, Kyle Pascual and Michole Sorela are all suiting up.

The Lions are playing the Pirates, winless in two starts, at 6 p.m.