San Beda tangles with Letran for top seed in NCAA Final Four
MANILA, Philippines – Although both teams have a twice-to-beat advantage in the semi-final round, San Beda College and Colegio de San Juan de Letran will have to lock horns once more to determine the no. 1 seed in NCAA Season 91’s Final Four on Tuesday, October 13 at the 20,000-seater SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The two rival schools ended the double-round robin eliminations with the same record of 13-5 and are heavily-favored to cross paths again in this year’s Finals.
San Beda, which aims for a record-setting sixth-straight NCAA basketball championship and ninth collegiate title in 10 years, concluded its regular season by avenging the 93-80 loss to Letran in the first round on Tuesday, October 6 as the Red Lions defeated the Knights, 77-73.
Nigerian reinforcement Ola Adeogun had a double-double feat of 13 markers and 15 boards to come along with one assist, one steal and one block.
Meanwhile, San Beda found an unlikely hero in AC Soberano as the rookie shooting guard torched Aldin Ayo’s dirty dozen with 11 baskets and converted 3 of his 5 shots from downtown.
The Mendiola-based brigade has been a staple of the Final Four from 2006 to 2015, including the 2010 season where the red-and-white troop swept the elimination stage to qualify for the Finals outright and gain a thrice-to-beat edge in the championship round.
In addition, San Beda has occupied the No. 1 seat in the playoffs since 2006 and has undergone 3 tie-breaking matches for the top seed, playing against San Sebastian College-Recoletos in 2009 and 2011 as well as a deciding contest with Arellano in 2014.
On the other hand, Letran easily dispatched University of Perpetual Help System Dalta with a 93-64 triumph on Friday, October 9 to force a stalemate with its longtime league arch-nemesis.
Cruz drilled 15 of his 18 baskets in the first half, while fellow-pro-bound skipper Kevin Racal chipped in 15 points for Letran.
Letran enters the crossover semi-final phase for the first time since 2013 as the Knights had a sixth-place finish of a 9-9 standing last year.
Arellano and Mapua Institute of Technology will commence the stepladder playoff on Tuesday with the winner having the right to face Jose Rizal University on Thursday, October 15.
The winner of the aforementioned match-up takes the no. 3 spot, while the losing squadron enters the semi-finals at no. 4 and dances with the victor of the San Beda-Letran duel. – Rappler.com