The long-awaited date of NCAA rivals San Beda and Letran was originally scheduled last July 21 but due to Typhoon Ferdie, it had to be postponed. The match was supposed to be played last week, August 11 but Monsoon Habagat kept it from pushing through.
Finally, the showdown between the two most followed teams in the NCAA will happen on Thursday, August 16, at 6 p.m. on the last day of the first round of action of Season 88 of the NCAA at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
What makes this main offering exciting is the fact the both teams are coming off heart-breaking losses. Letran bowed to JRU, 101-83, last Monday while San Beda absorbed their second loss, 80-71, at the hands of San Sebastian.
The Knights, this year’s hosts, will have to get by with a 12-man lineup. Center Raymund Almazan has been missing in action for the past month while Joel Gabriel has been out for a few weeks now with a right arm injury. Forward Jonathan Belorio, who was ejected from the playing court in their last game against JRU, will have to sit out their last game in the first round. Belorio was thrown out of the game late in the game for throwing an elbow above the shoulders of Heavy Bomber Ivan Camasura.
Kevin Alas, the Knights’ main gunner seems all pumped up for the match. “July 25, 2007 This is the Date that Letran last won against San Beda. Winning shot by Rey Guevarra,” he posted on Twitter. Alas was still part of the Letran Squires in that game.
Jam Cortes will have to single-handedly man the paint for the Knights, who will be badly hit with Belorio’s absence. Junjun Alas is expected to give Cortes a hand on the defensive end.
San Beda, who wants to continue their winning tradition over the Knights will have to get an explosive performance from big man Ola Adeogun, who was held down to just four points in their last game.
The graduation of Adeogun in their match against San Sebastian hurt San Beda’s chance of bouncing back in the final period. The deadly trio of Rome Dela Rosa, Jake Pascual and Baser Amer will have to show up early to get their rhythm going.
In the other game, the Mapua Cardinals and the Arellano Chiefs, who are tied at the 6th and 7th places with similar 3-5 win loss cards will try to break loose from each other when they entangle at 4 p.m.
The Cardinals are coming off a 71-64 win over powerhouse San Sebastian while the Arellano Chiefs downed Perpetual, 63-54.
Mapua, led by Josan Nimes and Gab Banal will try to end their first round on a high note with another win. Arellano’s Nard Pinto paved the way for the Chiefs to barge back into the winning column when he posted a double-double finish of 15 points and 13 rebounds.