Reigning UAAP champion National University and NCAA titlist San Beda shoot for semis berths on Saturday when they take on separate rivals in the 3rd Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship Ironcon Builders Cup at the Chiang Kai Shek College gym in Tondo, Manila.
Fully recovered from a shock 73-71 double overtime defeat to the CKSC Blue Dragons in the opener, the NU Bullpups collide with the dangerous Mapua Red Robins in the featured match at 3 p.m. before the Red Lions tackle the Jose Rizal Univeristy Light Bombers at 4:30.
Though much taller and heftier than the Red Robins, the NU Bullpups are expected to encounter rough sailing due to Mapua’s vaunted outside shooting.
The Red Robins, runners-up to the Red Cubs in the NCAA, are coming off an impressive 61-51 win over the Xavier School Stallions – thanks to the inspired performance of Sherwin Concepcion and Daniel Aguirre.
The two other quarterfinal matches are also worth watching with CKSC Blue Dragons and the Xavier Stallions set to renew their rivalry at 12 noon while Hope Christian High School hopes to pull the rug from under the Far Eastern University Baby Tamaraws at 1:30 p.m.
College coaches, among them Allan Caidic and Jun Limpot of La Salle, are among the regular spectators of the tournament also sponsored by Jumbo Plastic Linoleum, Ever Bilena-Blackwater, Dickies Underwear, MEC Computers, Hapee Toothpaste, Freego, and Rain or Shine.
“They’re all looking for prospects that’s why they’re here and we’re proud of that. This year, we have a good bunch of exciting players,” said PSSBC chairman Jimi Lim of Ironcon Builders.
The Blue Dragons, who swept the Group A elims, are hoping to stamp their class over the Stallions whom they beat in a recent invitational tournament in Bacolod City.
Expected to lead the Blue Dragons are Fran Yu, JV Gallego and Van Pilanga, while out to lead Xavier’s upset bid is Tyler Tio.
The Hope Christian squad, on the other hand, will again lean on Jollo Go who exploded for a season-high 31 points against the Red Cubs last week.