LONGTIME National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rivals San Beda Red Lions and Letran Knights collide for the first time in Season 93 as they are featured in the final game of seniors play today scheduled at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
Set for 4 p.m., the Lions (3-1) and Knights (1-2) are out to pad their push in the new season of the country’s longest-standing collegiate league and better position themselves early.
Preceding the San Beda-Letran encounter is the match between the Mapua Cardinals (1-2) and Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals (1-2) at 12 noon and the tiff featuring the Lyceum Pirates (3-0) and Arellano University Chiefs (2-1) at 2 p.m.
Tripped early in the tournament, defending champion San Beda has won back-to-back matches to get back on its footing.
The latest of the Lions’ victories came last Friday as they beat EAC, 81-69.
San Beda used a key run in the third quarter to dust off the resilient Generals, who kept the game close for much of the opening half.
Sophomore guard Jomari Presbitero came through with a career-high 16 points and joined forces with Clint Doliguez and Fil-Am Davon Potts in their pivotal third canto run, which resulted in the Lions turning a single-digit lead at the break to a 19-point advantage at the end of the quarter.
EAC tried to make up for lost ground in the payoff period but San Beda was not to allow it to come back en route to booking its third win in four matches in Season 93 to date.
“I didn’t realize I had a career high because I was just playing my game and following our game plan,” said Presbitero, who played high school ball at the Ateneo De Davao. He peppered his team-high scoring number with three assists and two steals.
Cameroonian Donald Tankoua had 12 points for the Lions while Robert Bolick and Jayvee Mocon had 10 points each. Doliguez and Potts, meanwhile, had nine points apiece.
Letran, meanwhile, has had it roller-coaster so far, going loss-win-loss in its first three games of the season.
The Knights’s last defeat was dealt by the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 65-62, on July 21.
Letran fought JRU up to the end but end-game breaks would not go its way as it slumped to its second defeat.
Bong Quinto and Rey Nambatac led the Knights in their loss to the Heavy Bombers with 16 and 14 points, respectively.
Meanwhile, league-leading Lyceum shoots for a fourth straight win as it battles Arellano in the second game.
Made noise in the preseason, the Pirates have underscored that they are for real as they have racked up three consecutive victories to claim the driver’s seat early.
Lyceum defeated Season 93 hosts San Sebastian Stags in its last game with comebacking NCAA player CJ Perez leading the charge anew with 20 points. He was ably backstopped by skipper Jesper Ayaay and Mark Harry Nzeusseu with 17 and 10 points, respectively.
Arellano, for its part, also looks to extend its streak that has seen it win back-to-back games after bowing in its season debut.
Guard Kent Salado was the hero in their last victory, draining the game-winning shot with 0.3 seconds left in the match to edge out JRU, 73-72, in overtime.
Apart from scoring the winning shot, Salado had 25 points, eight assists, six rebounds and two steals for the Chiefs.
In the first game, Mapua and EAC are out to notch their second win that would put them at the .500 mark.