Lions, Pirates seek follow-up on good start
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - July 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — San Beda and Lyceum of the Philippines University gun for a second victory as they battle Jose Rizal U and Emilio Aguinaldo College, respectively, today in the 95th NCAA basketball tournament at the Flying V Centre in San Juan.

The four-peat-seeking Lions routed the Arellano U Chiefs, 59-46, while the Pirates, runners-up in the last two seasons, outlasted the Letran Knights, 84-80, Sunday boosting their pre-season billing as the teams to beat.

Cameroonian Donald Tankoua will try to follow up his double-double performance of 13 points and 12 rebounds that made up for the struggles of talented but inexperienced backcourt duo of James Canlas and Evan Nelle, tasked to fill the vacuum left by former leaders and now pros Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon.

The bandana-wearing Canlas-Nelle tandem seemingly felt some jitters but they combined for 19 points, 12 boards and seven assists.

Canlas and Nelle are expected to do better against the squad that is licking wounds after an embarrassing 51-82 blowout by San Sebastian Tuesday.

San Beda and JRU clash in the 12 noon curtain-raiser.

The Pirates, for their part, used their quickness to make up for the lack of ceiling in their triumphant season debut.

Cameroonian Mike Nzeusseu is still day-to-day due to a fractured index finger.

In Nzeusseu’s absence, Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee took charge in a decisive run in erasing a six-point deficit versus the Knights with less than five minutes to go.

The lightning-quick Marcelinos came through in the clutch and ended up with 24 and 18 points, respectively.

LPU coach Topex Robinson said there is a chance Nzeusseu gets to see action in their 4 p.m. showdown with the Generals.

“It will really be up to him on how he’s holding up, if there is still pain. But we’re not rushing him. We want him to be in the best of health because this is a long season anyway,” said Robinson.

Letran and AU eye their first win as they face off at 2 p.m.

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