Lions stake clean mark versus streaking Cards
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - September 6, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – San Beda guns for a first-round sweep while resurgent Mapua aims to sustain the momentum of its three-game streak as the two face off in the league’s resumption today after giving way to Gilas Pilipinas’ FIBA World Cup campaign in Foshan, China.

The Lions have lived up to their top billing as the 95th NCAA basketball tournament favorites in winning all of their first eight games including an 88-57 demolition of the St. Benilde Blazers on Aug. 23.

A victory over the Cardinals in their 2 p.m. encounter will complete a first-round sweep for the red-hot Lions.

San Beda has been a dominant team in its last three games with an average winning margin of 30.3 points including a 102-56 dismantling of Perpetual Help on Aug. 16.

San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez, however, is a little wary of Mapua, a team that strung together three straight victories including an 83-63 win over Jose Rizal after starting the season with five defeats in a row.

“They’re coming off a three-game streak and playing well as a team. They’re very strong and coach Randy (Alcantara) has been doing a great job at Mapua,” said Fernandez. “For us to beat them, we have to continue to play tougher defense.”

College of St. Benilde, currently at No. 2 with a 6-2 (win-loss) record, meanwhile, aspires to keep its lofty perch as it tackles Letran at 12 noon. The Knights share No. 4 spot with the San Sebastian Stags on their identical 5-3 cards.

CSB coach TY Tang will return from a one-game suspension, and he is determined to steer his team to another win.

“We’re hoping to end the first round on a winning note and hold on to No. 2 spot,” said Tang.

San Sebastian squares off with Arellano (2-6) at 4 p.m. with a goal to stay inside the magic four.



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