Lions, Cardinals seek 2nd win, share of NCAA lead

MANILA, Philippines — Three-peat seeking San Beda and Mapua gun for their second straight victories and a share of the lead with idle Lyceum even as host Perpetual Help braces for a debuting Arellano U side in the 94th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan today.

The Lions and the Cardinals kicked off their respective campaigns in contrasting fashions with the former barely surviving the Perpetual Help Altas, 67-65, last July 7 and the latter trouncing the Jose Rizal U Bombers, 72-60, in an NCAA road match last week.

Both, however, expect a tougher, fiercer challenge with Mapua facing fellow Muralla-based school Letran at 2 p.m. and San Beda taking on JRU at 4 p.m.

Victories by the Lions and the Cardinals would force an early three-way tie for the lead with the Pirates, who hurdled their first two assignments, including a 106-97 romp over the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals last Friday.

The Lions, seeking their third straight and 11th crown in the last 13 seasons, have put emphasis on execution and shooting after struggling against the Altas where they missed 37 of their 58 shots and misfired on 10 of 32 charities.

“We’re a little bit lucky against Perpetual Help because we really missed a lot of shots and played bad but we still won,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez. “That’s why we spent the last week on executing well and making shots.”

The Cardinalswill be pinning their hopes on blue-chip rookie recruits Warren Bonifacio and Eric Jabel, who anchored the team’s 12-point victory over the Bombers at the latter’s turf in Mandaluyong.