By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE San Beda Red Lions and Arellano Chiefs, finals protagonists from last year in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), reengage for Season 93 today on the final day of first-round elimination play at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Both coming off victories in their last assignments, the Lions (7-1) and Chiefs (3-5) look to end the first round on a high in their 4 p.m. set-to and use it as a jump-off point to a good start in the second round.
Mendiola-based San Beda actually has won six straight after being tripped initially in its campaign in the ongoing season of the country’s longest-standing collegiate league.
The latest of the Lions’ conquests was over the Perpetual Help Altas at the latter’s own home in Las Piñas, 57-53, on Aug. 17.
Clint Doliguez and Robert Bolick took charge for the Lions in the win to notch their sixth victory in a row and stay within striking distance of the league-leading Lyceum Pirates (9-0).
Doliguez had a team-high 11 points while Bolick had all-around numbers of 10 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists albeit committing eight turnovers.
While it was hardly a pretty game for their standards, San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez still hailed the win over Perpetual Help as a “good win” and credited his players for bucking the tough challenge by the Altas at their home.
BACK ON THE WINNING TRACK
Arellano, for its parts, got back on the winning track in its previous game after absorbing four straight losses, beating the College of St. Benilde Blazers, 87-81, last Friday.
The win did not come easy for the Chiefs though as they had to fight back from 16 points down at one point.
Rookie Levi dela Cruz produced a career-high 24 points to make up for the struggles of floor leader Kent Salado, who was held to just nine points in the game.
Big man Lervin Flores had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds to go along with two blocks for the Chiefs.
“We have been waiting for this win for a while now. We’re happy we got back to winning before we take on San Beda,” said Arellano coach Jerry Codiñera following their victory.
Also playing their final game in the opening round of NCAA Season 93 are the suddenly streaking Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers (5-3) and downward-spiralling Mapua Cardinals (1-7).
They collide at 2 p.m.