MANILA, Philippines - Defending champion San Beda shoots for no less than a twice-to-beat edge in the Final Four as it takes on an Arellano U side trying to fight for dear life in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Lions have won their last five games via an average winning margin of 20 points, making the defending champions the heavy favorites to dispose of the Chiefs in their 4 p.m. contest.
With a pacesetting 12-2 card, San Beda is eyeing one of the top two spots in the semis for a twice-to-beat advantage. The Lions have made it to the Final Four the last seven seasons and made the finals six times, winning five championships.
“It’s our initial goal, it will be nicer if we end up with a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four,” said San Beda coach Ronnie Magsanoc.
The Lions are also out to duplicate their 81-71 win over the Chiefs last June 24 when the former played with only six players after the veterans, including Nigerian center Ola Adeogun, served their suspension for misconduct early in the year.
Arellano, with a 5-9 card, goes all out to stave off elimination. The Chiefs need to sweep their last four games and hope that three from Perpetual Help, Letran, Jose Rizal or Mapua won’t go over nine wins to force a playoff for the last semis berth.
“We’re staying positive,” said Arellano U coach Koy Banal.
Like Arellano U, EAC, also with a 5-9 card, also tries to remain in the hunt as it clashes with ousted Lyceum side at 6 p.m.