By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Games Today (The Arena, San Juan)
12 noon – JRU vs Arellano (Jrs)
2 p.m. – Perpetual vs CSB (Jrs)
4 p.m. – JRU vs Arellano (Srs)
6 p.m. – Perpetual vs CSB (Srs)
Manila, Philippines – Jose Rizal University guns for a second straight win, while University of Perpetual Help eyes to bounce back from a bitter loss when they meet separate rivals today in the 88th NCAA basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The Heavy Bombers face the Arellano Chiefs at 4 p.m. while the Altas square off with the College of St. Benilde Blazers at 6 p.m.
Toting a 7-2 mark, JRU likewise aims for a share of the lead with reigning champion San Beda after the latter routed Lyceum, 7747, Saturday night.
In that game, Jake Pascual scattered 11 of his 17 points in the second quarter, while Rome Dela Rosa and Kyle Pascual chipped in 12 and 10 markers, respectively, for the Red Lions.
The Heavy Bombers are drawing inspiration from their recent 101-83 triumph against the Letran Knights last week to further bolster their title campaign.
Although favored against Arellano in terms of team standings, the Heavy Bombers have to be cautious of the Chiefs following their shocking 63-54 win over Perpetual Help two weeks back.
Arellano, carding a 3-6 record at the bottom half of the standings, is trying to intensify their games to catch up with other teams and breathe life in their own Final Four bid.
Nat Matute and John Lopez will continue to serve as JRU’s sparkplug after ranking at No. 2 in the scoring and field goal percentage departments, respectively. The Heavy Bombers also needed Matute to sizzle in the three-point area after averaging three treys per game.
Arellano, who failed to sustain its upset win over Perpetual after losing to Mapua, 68-49, four days ago, needs Rocky Acidre to step up anew after banging in 20 points in their last game.
In the other pairing, Perpetual will try to erase the memory of its loss to Arellano and hope that Jet Vidal, Earl Thompson and Ariyo Babayemi will anchor the squad back to the winning column.
St. Benilde, coming off a twoweek respite, is also struggling to crawl out of a 3-6 slate following back-to-back losses to Emilio Aguinaldo College and JRU.