COACH Boyet Fernandez of reigning three-time champion San Beda University is convinced that his squad will be pushed to the limit anew when it takes on Letran today.
“We all know that Letran has been really playing well. Again, that is a very strong team. It will be tough for us,” said Fernandez.
“This is a very tough season for us because all teams are strong. We’re just lucky that we’re winning, we’re just lucky we’re getting our points and winning against those other teams,” he added.
The Red Lions eye their 15th straight win when they square off with the Knights as the 95th NCAA basketball tournament resumes at The Arena in San Juan.
The match is set at 2 o’clock after lowly Emilio Aguinaldo College battles Perpetual Help in the curtain-raiser at noon. Streaking teams Lyceum and Mapua University collide at 4 p.m.
San Beda held off Letran 70-66 in their first meeting last Aug. 10. The Lions are coming off a 75-62 victory over the Altas last Sept. 26 that hiked their record to 14-0.
Foremost among those expected to deliver for San Beda are 6-foot-5 Cameroonian import Donald Tankoua, MVP front-runner Calvin Oftana, James Canlas, Evan Nelle, Clint Doliguez, and AC Soberano.
The Knights are out to redeem themselves from a close 90-97 loss to the Pirates last Sept. 27.
With a 9-5 card, good for solo third, Letran will pin its hopes on burly big man Larry Muyang, shooter Jerrick Balanza, Bonbon Batiller, Fran Yu, and Renato Ular.
Lyceum downed the Cardinals 79-71 in their initial duel last July 19.
Sitting in solo second with a 10-3 slate and armed with a four-game winning run, the Pirates will rely on speedy twins Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino, Reymar Caduyac, Jayson David, and 6-foot-5 Cameroonian reinforcement Mike Harry Nzeusseu.
Mapua has also won four straight, including a 72-67 triumph over Jose Rizal University last Sept. 26.
Laurenz Victoria, Justin Serrano, JP Nieles, Christian Bunag, and Cyril Gonzales will lead the Cards’ charge as they try to improve their 7-6 mark that will break a tie with idle San Sebastian College and gain solo fourth.
Perpetual nipped the Generals 88-87 in their first meeting last Aug. 20.
The Altas will bank on Edgar Charcos, Ben Adamos, Kim Aurin, Jielo Razon, and Rey Peralta to snap a four-losing skid and improve their 3-9 record.