IF four-peat seeking San Beda University wants to realize a lofty goal when it takes on Lyceum today, the Red Lions must show up with their vaunted defense against the Pirates, according to coach Boyet Fernandez.
“We’re winning because of our defense but if we allow our opponents to score 42 points in the first half then we will not win against LPU. LPU is a very strong team. Hopefully, we can hurdle LPU. They lost against Baste but that team has so much threat. They’re well-coached so we just have to be ready against LPU,” he said.
San Beda seeks an elimination round sweep and an outright finals slot when it squares off with Lyceum in the 95th NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The match is set at 4 p.m., with the Lions eyeing a win that will enable them to advance to the Big Dance and leave the next three other squads battling in the stepladder semis.
Letran, which has clinched the No. 2 slot in the Final Four, tackles also-ran Emilio Aguinaldo College in the curtain-raiser at 2 o’clock.
The Lions drubbed the Pirates 88-73 in their first meeting last Aug. 20.
Foremost among those expected to lead the way for the Lions are the likes of MVP frontrunner Calvin Oftana, 6-foot-5 Cameroonian import Donald Tankoua, James Canlas, Evan Nelle, Clint Doliguez, and AC Soberano.
Interestingly, Lyceum swept the eliminations in 2017 but was beaten by San Beda 2-0 in the finals.
Pirates coach Topex Robinson is convinced their highly-anticipated duel with the Lions will help them toughen up.
“It’s gonna be big for us as we go to the homestretch of the season so every opportunity for us to learn and grow will be big for us,” said Robinson. “We’re excited for this game.”