THE Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals look to go beyond the .500 mark in Season 93 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as they engage the Perpetual Help Altas in the opener of seniors play today at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
Currently in the middle of the pack with a 2-2 record, along with three other teams, the Generals are eyeing to break free from a crowded spot in their 12 noon game against the Altas and join early tournament leaders at the top half of the standings of the new season of the country’s longest-standing collegiate league.
Immediately following the curtain-raiser is the encounter between the league-leading Lyceum Pirates and Mapua Cardinals at 2 p.m. to be followed by Arellano University versus College of St. Benilde at 4 p.m.
Playing with extra bounce this season, EAC is coming off a win over Mapua, 77-72, last Tuesday to notch its second win in four matches.
The Generals were tested by the Cardinals all game long but the former managed to survive, hitting big shots and playing solid defense down the stretch to come up with the win.
Veteran forward Sidney Onwubere led EAC with 22 points, hitting four triples, to go along with eight rebounds.
Juju Bautista also came up big for the Generals with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.
“Defense really is making a difference for us. In our past games we showed a tendency to break down in defense which made it hard for us to compete in the end game. But of late we are really putting emphasis on that and it is paying off,” said EAC coach Ariel Sison after their win over Mapua.
EAC’s opponent today, Perpetual Help (1-2), for its part, is out to establish a firmer footing in the tournament after having it shaky in its first three games.
The Altas lost in their tournament debut to CSB by forfeiture -- wearing the wrong shade of uniform -- and then followed it up with another loss before finally notching their first official win
Perpetual Help defeated Mapua, 63-60, last time around with GJ Ylagan, Prince Eze and CJ Coronel joining forces to carry their team to the victory.
Ylagan paced the Altas with 13 points while Eze had 11 points and 21 rebounds.
Coronel, meanwhile, provided the big baskets in the end, scoring five of his 10 points inside the last two minutes, to frustrate the Cardinals in their home turf.
In the second game, meanwhile, Lyceum (4-0) shoots for a fifth win in as many games in Season 93 at the expense of Mapua (1-3).
The latest of the Pirates’ victories was over Arellano, 99-65, which had them having their best start in the tournament since joining the NCAA in 2011.
Do-it-all CJ Perez was the highest pointer for Lyceum in their rout of Arellano with 16 points, 14 coming in the second half.
Jesper Ayaay had 13 points and nine rebounds while JC Marcelino also had 13 points to go along with six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
“The championship is not within our reach. It’s there and we just have to keep on winning and getting used to winning together,” said Lyceum coach Topex Robinson of the mind-set they have.
The Pirates are going up against a Cardinals team out to break a two-game skid.
In the third game, Arellano (2-2) and CSB (1-2) look to bounce back after losing in their previous games.
Meanwhile, the scheduled NCAA on Tour game yesterday between the San Sebastian Stags and Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers at the former’s home gym in Manila was postponed because of inclement weather brought about by Tropical Storm Gorio.
As of this writing, the NCAA has not yet announced any postponement of today’s game.