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NCAA: Lions, Blazers eye sixth straight win

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By Waylon Galvez

Games Friday
(The Arena, San Juan)
8 a.m. – Perpetual Help vs San Beda (Jrs)
10 a.m. – JRU vs Mapua (Jrs)
12 n.n. – Perpetual Help vs San Beda (Srs)
2 p.m. – JRU vs Mapua (Srs)
4 p.m. – St. Benilde vs Lyceum (Srs)
6 p.m. – St. Benilde vs Lyceum (Jrs)

Defending champion San Beda University and College of Saint Benilde put their unbeaten records on the line when they face separate opponents Friday in NCAA Season 95t at The Arena in San Juan.

In the first game, the Red Lions take on the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas at 12 noon, while the Blazers meet the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates at 4 p.m.

The resurgent Mapua Cardinals – winner of their last two matches – tackle the Bombers of Jose Rizal University in another  senior’s match scheduled at 2 p.m.

San Beda's Calvin Oftana, right, is one of the key players expected to step up when the Red Lions face the Perpetual Help Altas in the 95th NCAA men's basketball tournament today at The Arena in San Juan. (Czar Dancel)

San Beda’s Calvin Oftana, center, is expected to step up when the Red Lions face the Perpetual Help Altas.  (Czar Dancel)

San Beda and St. Benilde are tied on top with 5-0 records.

Last Saturday, the Red Lions claimed their fifth straight win by beating archrival Letran 70-66 behind the solid plays of Evan Nelle, who led SBU 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists, Donald Tankoua contributed 15 points, while Calvin Oftana and James Canlas-Kwekuteye had 11 points each.

San Beda mentor Boyet Fernandez said they have to remain focused knowing it’s going to be tough against Perpetual Help.

“We haven’t won anything. We just won our game (against the Knights) but it’s a long way to go for us. We know it’s going to be a tough game no matter who we face. We just have to be ready,” said Fernandez.

The Lions-Altas encounter will feature a backcourt duel between Nelle and Perpetual Help guard Edgar Charcos, the main man for the Frankie Lim-mentored squad.

Despite a 2-4 card, Perpetual Help is still a dangerous opponent after giving the Lyceum Pirates a tough time in an 87-75 defeat in last week’s NCAA On Tour at the Altas gym in Las Pinas.

St. Benilde, for its part, hopes to avoid the mistakes it committed in last Tuesday’s 82-77 victory over Arellano University where it nearly squandered a 15-point lead in the final two minutes.

Against LPU, CSB coach TY Tang is looking forward for his troops to elevate their game several notches.

The Blazers, who are enjoying their best start in school history, are opening in a tough four-game stretch to end their first round campaign, which likewise include matches against the Red Lions, the Knights and the Bombers.

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