San Beda Red Lions go for win No. 13 against undermanned Lyceum Pirates
Coach Boyet Fernandez and the Red Lions seek to move on cusp of ninth straight semifinal appearance. Jerome Ascano

SAN BEDA tries to inch closer to its ninth straight semifinal appearance as it takes on undermanned Lyceum in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan.

The league-leading Red Lions, who have reached the Final Four every year since 2006, shoot for their 13th win in 15 games to secure at least a playoff for another postseason berth.

Standing in the four-time defending champions’ way are the Pirates, who are trying to keep their flat-lining semifinal hopes alive.  

Joint sixth with Letran with a 6-8 win-loss card, the Pirates still have a chance of making the next phase of the tournament, depending on other teams’ results.

But already without skipper Shane Ko due to a skin allergy, the Pirates may also miss Dexter Zamora after he sprained his right ankle during their 91-75 win over Emilio Aguinaldo College last Friday.

The match starts at 2 p.m.

“He wants to play, but he is still in pain,” Pirates coach Bonnie Tan said on Tuesday of Zamora, who leads the team in scoring with 12 points per game.

But the Lions, the overwhelming favorites with a team bannered by Ola Adeogun, Art de la Cruz, and Baser Amer, are careful not to underestimate the Pirates.

“With or without Zamora, it’s going to be another tough game,” said coach Boyet Fernandez. “They’re a scrappy team that we won’t take for granted.”

Arellano, lurking behind San Beda with a 10-4 slate, hopes to keep in step with the league-leader as it faces slumping EAC in the second game at 4 o’clock.

The cellar-dwelling Generals have lost five successive games and 11 overall with only three wins as they continue to labor without injured Cameroonian slotman Cedric Happi Noube.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos