By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Games Today (The Arena, San Juan)
12 noon JRU vs EAC (Jrs)
2 p.m. Mapua vs CSB (Jrs)
4 p.m. JRU vs EAC (Srs)
6 p.m. Mapua vs CSB (Srs)
Manila, Philippines – Jose Rizal University guns for a third straight win and a share of the lead with defending champion San Beda when it meets Emilio Aguinaldo College today in the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Game time is at 4 p.m. followed by the Mapua-College of St. Benilde tussle at 6 p.m.
The Heavy Bombers hope to sustain their winning form after clinching back-to-back triumphs against the Cardinals (65-64) last June 23 and the Arellano Chiefs (77-65) five days later.
JRU coach Vergel Meneses expects to lean anew on Nate Matute to lead their offensive charge after scoring 16 points in their opening game and a career-high 29 points against Arellano.
“Malaking bagay si Nate sa amin kasi doon nag-improve ang outside shooting namin,“ said Meneses. But while leaning on their offense, Meneses admitted they have to “hold our defense to have a chance against EAC.“
The Generals won their first match in the league last June 25 against the Chiefs, 75-72, and are also hoping to resume their bid on a bright note.
Russell Yaya and Noube Happi are slated to carry the fight for EAC after combining for 31 points. Happi is also expected to dominate the shaded lane after hauling 16 boards.
Mapua (0-1) and St. Benilde (1-1), meanwhile, seek to brush off their bruised knees following their previous defeats.
The Cardinals opened up their campaign with a slim loss against the Heavy Bombers, while Blazers are still reeling from their 95-93 defeat against the San Sebastian Stags.
In the junior scene, the Mapua Red Robins (1-0) collide with the St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills Junior Blazers (1-1) at 2 p.m., while the JRU Light Bombers and the EAC Brigadiers raise the curtain