NCAA Final Four: San Beda seeks dominance, Altas want revenge

Myke Miravite
After dodging illegal league allegations, the San Beda Red Lions are ready to square-off vs the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta Altas

MANILA, Philippines – After what has been a very long National Collegiate Athletic Association of the Philippines (NCAA) season, the Final Four of the oldest basketball league in the country ended up just exactly as last year’s.

Still fresh from dodging and blocking ‘illegal league’ allegations involving one of its players, the San Beda Red Lions — whose four-peat aspirations were put in danger of being forfeited – will now be all business as they face a familiar final four foe, the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta Altas, when the Season 89 final four kicks off on Thursday, November 7.

San Beda (15-3) vs UPHSD (11-7)

Throughout the year, the Red Lions – who own the twice-to-beat edge in this matchup – have practically turned the NCAA into their stomping grounds as they posted a 6-game winning streak, not once but twice in the 2013-14 Season. They ended the elims on top of the standings with 15 wins in 18 games, just your typical San Beda over the past couple of years.

Last year, the Red Lions needed just one game to send home the Altas courtesy of a 56-52 win in the semis. San Beda trailed for three quarters before flexing their muscles in the fourth quarter to set a date with Letran in the Season 88 finals.

In a rematch of that tiff a year later, it will be offense versus defense as San Beda, the best defensive team in the league right now, and Perps, currently the number one outside shooting squad, will try to outwit each other for this year’s finals berth. For San Beda, it will be a quest fordominance while the Altas will be looking for sweet revenge against their last year’s tormentors.

Players to watch: Baser Amer (SBC) and Juneric Baloria (UPHSD) 

Who else but this guy? Amer has led the Red Lions all-year long with steady playmaking and scoring. In their two previous meetings with the Altas this season, Amer topscored in both with 23 and 21 point-explosions respectively, and with the looks of it, this final four fixture is set to become just another Baser Amer show.

Perpetual, meanwhile, definitely hit the jackpot with their rookie gunner Baloria as he continues to impress everybody, leading his team with veteran-like numbers (close to 20 points per game!) and more and more becoming the favorite to take home this year’s rookie of the year award. 

The semifinals will be a great test to gauge these two players as Amer will try to teach his younger counterpart about who really owns the league while Baloria is out to upset not just the veteran point guard but the whole Red Lions squad as well. –

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