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NCAA: Red Lions, at 16-0, look to bypass semifinals

Published

By Waylon Galvez

Standings W L

*San Beda 16 0
*LPU 12 4
Letran 10 6
SSC-R 9 6
Mapua 7 8
CSB 7 8
Perpetual 5 10
JRU 4 11
Arellano 4 11
EAC 3 13
*semifinalist

Games Thursday:

(Filoil Flying V Centre)

2 p.m. – CSB vs San Beda (Men)
4 p.m. – SSC-R vs Mapua (Men)

Defending champion San Beda seeks to move within a win of claiming an automatic Finals slot against College of Saint Benilde Thursday in NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

San Beda's Donald Tankoua (MB File Photo / Rio Deluvio)

San Beda’s Donald Tankoua (MB File Photo / Rio Deluvio)

Shooting for their 17th consecutive win, the Red Lions play the Blazers at 2 p.m.

San Sebastian, meanwhile, hopes to hurdle Mapua in the 4 p.m. main game to complete the semifinals cast.

Sporting 7-8 records and two games out of the No. 4 slot, the Blazers and the Cardinals have no recourse but to sweep their remaining three matches.

The Stags are in solo third with a 9-6 mark.

Benilde head coach TY Tang in the NCAA Season 95 against EAC at the The Arena in San Juan, October 8, 2019 (Rio Deluvio)

Benilde head coach TY Tang in the NCAA Season 95 against EAC at the The Arena in San Juan, October 8, 2019 (Rio Deluvio)

A repeat of their 88-57 conquest of the Blazers will put the Lions on the cusp of making the Finals outright. After St. Benilde, San Beda will face Lyceum of the Philippines University in a rematch of two previous championship series on Oct. 17.

On the brink of elimination after a promising 5-0 start, coach TY Tang hopes that his Blazers will leave everything on the floor to pull off a reversal of epic proportions against the powerhouse Lions.

“We will just fight. We will find ways to survive. We have nothing to lose at this time, we have everything to gain,” said Tang.

St. Benilde has encountered a lot of misfortunes along the way, losing guard Jimboy Pasturan and rookie center Ladis Lepalam to season-ending injuries, while Clement Leutcheu went down with an illness and sat out in the last two games.

After opening the season with five consecutive losses, the Cardinals made a huge run midway in the eliminations but losses to the Pirates and the Lions hurt their chances of making it to the next round.

With a return Final Four trip in sight, San Sebastian coach Egay Macaraya expects his troops to give their all to avoid any complications.

“We don’t have the luxury to relax. We have back-to-back games,” said Macaraya. “You know Mapua, they are a contender in the Final Four, kaya medyo mahirap kung magre-relax kami.”

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