The two teams fancied to go all the way to the finals return to the Filoil Flying Centre to take the first step towards that highly-expected showdown.
San Beda and Lyceum of the Philippines University eye to seal their top two spots in the Final Four as they play separate foes today in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
While the three-peat seeking Red Lions are a cinch to prevail in their 4 p.m. duel with also-ran Arellano University, this may not be the case for the Pirates, who will take on backs-against-the-wall College of Saint Benilde at 2 p.m.
After Letran nipped LPU last Friday, San Beda seized the league’s best record at 14-1, with coach Boyet Fernandez taking things step by step for his troops to remain on top.
“The initial goal is to make the Final Four, which we achieved. The next step is the twice-to-beat advantage, which we are now hoping to get,” said Fernandez.
The Pirates went down to second place with a 14-2 slate, two games ahead of the third-running Knights (12-4) in the race for the second twice-to-beat slot in the Final Four.
A win by LPU will close the door shut for Letran to gain a chance of getting the semifinal incentive via playoff.
The Blazers, who only won twice in the second round, are hard-pressed to sweep their last three contests that start with today’s showdown with the Pirates.
A loss by St. Benilde will hand the remaining semis berth to idle University of Perpetual Help System Dalta. The Altas (11-5) are holding a two-and-a-half game cushion against No. 5 Blazers (8-7).
LPU coach Topex Robinson hopes that his Pirates will learn the lessons of their previous defeat to the Knights.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanila, we will never be defined as a team just because we lost to a better team. We will be defined by how we’re gonna finish this season and the season after,” said Robinson.