Lions, Stags clash in Final Four ‘preview’
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - September 30, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - San Beda and San Sebastian clash today in what could be a preview of the Final Four with the Red Lions seeking to stay at No. 1 and the Stags out to keep their hold of No. 4 in the 89th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.

The Lions edged the Perpetual Help Altas in a gripping 78-76 overtime victory Thursday to clinch the first Final Four spot while firming up their hold of the top spot with a 12-2 (win-loss) record.

It was also the fifth straight win for the reigning three-peat champions who will be going up against the Stags, also on a hot streak after beating their last four opponents for an 8-5 card.

One-and-a-half games ahead of fifth-running Emilio Aguinaldo College, San Sebastian is tipped to clinch the fourth spot in the semis for a possible Final Four duel with San Beda.

“It’s really an intriguing match but we’re not looking that far ahead because we’re thinking of one game at a time,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez.

San Beda trounced SSC, 83-64, in their first round meeting last Aug. 12 but the Stags are raring to even things up with the Lions in their 6 p.m. duel.

One thing going for SSC is that Jon Kervin Ortuoste and Leo de Vera could be back in the fold after missing some games due to sickness and suspension. 

But dengue-stricken big man Bradwyn Guinto remains a doubtful starter for the Stags, according to San Sebastian mentor Topex Robinson.

“Guinto is not yet sure if he could play tomorrow (today),” Robinson told The STAR.

Meanwhile, Perpetual Help aims to join San Beda in the Final Four as it faces off with Lyceum at 4 p.m.

The Altas fell to No. 3 after losing to the Lions with an 11-4 slate, half a game behind the Letran Knights, who regained No. 2 with an 11-3 mark.

The Pirates are down with a 4-10 slate.

BOYET FERNANDEZ BRADWYN GUINTO EMILIO AGUINALDO COLLEGE FINAL FOUR JON KERVIN ORTUOSTE AND LEO LETRAN KNIGHTS PERPETUAL HELP SAN SAN BEDA SAN SEBASTIAN
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