SAN Beda won’t let a long break hamper its campaign in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament as it takes on Mapua on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan.
Coming off an almost two-week layoff, the two-time defending champions face the Cardinals in the main game of a doubleheader at 6 p.m., trying to maintain their hold on second spot behind league leaders San Sebastian and Jose Rizal University.
The Stags and Heavy Bombers share the top spot with similar 6-1 win-loss slates.
“We’re just looking to keep in step with the leaders of the season,” Lions coach Ronnie Magsanoc said on Wednesday. “We are hopeful that we are still sharp even with the layoff.”
The Lions (4-1) last played on July 19, when they downed Emilio Aguinaldo College, 81-65, behind the solid debut of Nigerian import Ola Adeogun, who registered nine points, 14 boards, and four shot blocks.
But the Mendiola-based squad had to make do with team practices over the next 13 days after heavy rains brought by tropical depression Ferdie forced the postponement its last scheduled match against archrival Letran on July 21.
The long break obviously makes the Lions eager to get back on the court against a Cardinals side vying to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Cardinals, who tote a 2-4 card, have yet to win a game since prized rookies Gab Banal, Joseph Eriobu, Jessie Saitanan, and Mark Brana suited up after being suspended in the team’s first few games.
In the curtain raiser at 4 p.m., Letran tries to move above the .500 mark when it collides with hapless Lyceum.
The Knights improved their record to 3-3 after outlasting the Generals, 65-62, in overtime a week ago in Laguna.
Kevin Alas, who had 23 points, six boards, and six assists against EAC, will again lead the Knights opposite the Pirates, who fell to 2-6 after bowing to JRU, 85-71, last Thursday.
Juniors play begins at 12 p.m.