By Waylon Galvez
Games Tuesday (The Arena, San Juan)
8 a.m. – Letran vs St. Benilde (Jrs)
10 a.m. – San Beda vs Mapua (Jrs)
12 n.n. – Letran vs St. Benilde (Srs)
2 p.m. – San Beda vs Mapua (Srs)
4 p.m. – Arellano vs San Sebastian (Srs)
6 p.m. – Arellano vs San Sebastian (Jrs)
Unbeaten College of St. Benilde is bracing for a tough encounter against the Letran Knights in the resumption of NCAA Season 95 today at The Arena in San Juan.
St. Benilde is enjoying its best start in school history, with its 4-0 record putting the Blazers on top tied with defending three-time champion San Beda Red Lions.
However, the Taft-based team will face a team that currently owns the longest winning streak as Letran is riding a five-game run after losing its opening game a month ago.
The game is at 12 noon, followed by the 2 p.m. encounter between San Beda and Mapua. Host school Arellano University takes on San Sebastian College-Recoletos at 4 p.m.
One concern for St. Benilde coach TY Tang is the day-to-day status of veteran center Justin Gutang due to knee injury although he can still rely on other bigs like Unique Naboa, Chris Flores and graduating players Clement Leutcheu and Yankie Haruna.
“We’ll do with what we have, players have been stepping up. I just hope we can play with the same intensity like what we played in our first four games,” said Tang, who is on his third season with CSB.
As for Letran, despite an impressive 5-1 slate and solo third place in the standings, Letran is having issues with consistency, which new mentor Bonnie Tan hopes they check after a long break.
“For sure it’s going to be a close game,” said Tan. “Match-up wise, they (Blazers) have the height and they have veteran guys. I just hope we can play more consistent because that’s our problem even though we’re winning games.”
“It’s going to be an exciting game, like a championship game,” added Tan as he already expects a playoff atmosphere even though the tournament is only in the middle of the first round.
Letran veterans Bonbon Batiller, Larry Muyang, Jeo Ambohot and Ato Ular will be vital cogs for the Knights, who are going all-out for the victory heading into their game against the Red Lions on Saturday.
San Beda also shoots for a win against Mapua to gain momentum for that weekend clash.
Calvin Oftana is expected to lead the way for SBU under coach Boyet Fernandez, with help from the backcourt pair of Evan Nelle and James Canlas, as well as big man Donald Tankoua.