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Lions eye first-round sweep in NCAA

August 27, 2019

San Beda University goes for a first round sweep when it takes on the streaking Mapua University today in Season 95 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) seniors basketball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

The leading Red Lions (8-0) seek to wrap up the first half of the season unbeaten at the expense of the Cardinals (3-5) at 2 p.m.

In the other matches, San Sebastian College-Recoletos (4-3) targets a third straight victory versus Arellano University (2-6) at 4 p.m. while College of St. Benilde (5-2) and Colegio de San Juan de Letran (5-3) collide to snap their losing skids at 12 n.n.

San Beda is looking invincible in its four-peat bid so far, boasting a winning margin of 30.7 points in its past three victories.

More than their searing offense, veteran coach Boyet Fernandez wants his Lions to continue imposing their relentless defense.

“Our defense will really bring us to where we want to go. Hopefully, it will go on. It’s hard to sustain it but we will work it out,” said Fernandez.

Fourth-year forward Calvin Oftana, who fired a career-high 27 points in their 88-57 thrashing of St. Benilde, will lead the Lions’ attack anew along with Evan Nelle, James Kwekuteye and AC Soberano.

The Mendiola-based champion will take on a Mapua side that is riding on a three-game winning roll following its five-game losing start.

“We’re facing Mapua and we need to prepare hard for them because they’re doing good this season,” said Fernandez.

The Randy Alcantara-coached Cardinals are coming off a 76-66 triumph over Jose Rizal University behind seasoned guard Laurenz Victoria’s 24 points and Paolo Hernandez’s 20 markers last August 16.

Victoria and Hernandez are expected to carry the scoring cudgels for Mapua again while frontliners Christian Buñag and Warren Bonifacio are tabbed to chip in.

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