Duel of unbeaten NCAA teams: Lions test Knights defense

Arellano U’s Donald Gumaru (11) fights off Emilio Aguinaldo College’s Abba Adoum Mbang and Sidney Onwubere in a rebound battle during their NCAA matchup Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan. The Chiefs won, 92-80. JOEY MENDOZA JR.

Games today

10 a.m. - Lyceum vs St. Benilde (jrs)

12 noon - San Beda vs Letran (jrs)

2 p.m. - Lyceum vs St. Benilde (srs)

4 p.m. - San Beda vs Letran (srs)


MANILA, Philippines - San Beda hopes to display its run-and-gun game against Letran's vaunted defense as they rekindle their rivalry for a share of the lead with idle Perpetual Help in the NCAA men's basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City today.

The Red Lions and the Knights swept their first two games in varying fashions with the former, seeking a record sixth straight championship, burying their rivals with a league-high norm of 105 points. The Muralla-based squad, on the other hand, held their first two foes to a league-best low of 57 points.

That makes the 4 p.m. encounter a match to watch with San Beda coach Jamike Jarin wary of their chances against the tough-defending Knights.

"It's an acid test for us because we all know Letran always plays tough," said San Beda coach Jamike Jarin.

It will also be a showdown between the league's fiercest rivals with the winner joining the hot-starting Perpetual Help in the lead at 3-0.

While Jarin is noted for his run-and-gun system, Letran rookie mentor Aldin Ayo has been banking on a full-court pressure defense that has so far produced good results.

"That's our game. The lower the score, the better chance for us to win," said Ayo, whose wards will be hard-pressed to neutralize San Beda's troika of Arthur dela Cruz, Ola Adeogun and Baser Amer.

Slowed down by injuries in the early going of the tournament, Adeogun and Amer suited up the last time out but played limited minutes.

"We're not rushing Ola and Baser although we might give them added minutes," said Jarin.

In offense, the Knights will lean on Mark Cruz, Kevin Racal and Rey Nambatac, who fired 25 points, including four triples in a 78-62 win over Jose Rizal U last July 3.

In the other game, St. Benilde and Lyceum collide at 2 p.m. with the Blazers gunning for a second straight win in four games and the Pirates raring to snap a two-game skid.

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