THE NCAA men’s Final Four cast begins to get a clear picture Thursday as three of the four remaining contenders see action at The Arena in San Juan.
Second-running San Sebastian collides with University of Perpetual Help at 6 p.m., after the 4 p.m. match between Jose Rizal University and Emilio Aguinaldo College.
A win by the Stags (11-5) solidify their hold of the no. 2 spot and dampen the hopes of the Altas to make the postseason.
But the Altas remain in the hunt should the Bombers, currently tied at fourth place with identical 10-7 win-loss card, are upset by the Generals in the first game. In such case, the two will forge a playoff for the last semifinal spot.
An Altas win meanwhile, will avoid complications in the standings and give idle Letran (11-6) a share of second place with the Stags.
But that’s easier said than done.
The Altas face a Stags team that’s trying to arrest a two-game skid and will be bannered anew by the “Pinatubo Trio” of Calvin Abueva, Ian Sangalang, and Ronald Pascual.
Meanwhile, the Altas will count on guards Jett Vidal and Earl Thompson to lead the team in trying to avenge its 65-80 loss to the Stags in the first round.
In the first game, the Bombers are also expected to encounter tough competition from the Generals, who, despite missing the Final Four, are having their best season so far in their three-year stint in the league.
Meanwhile, league-leading San Beda, already assured of the top spot in the Final Four, is not concerned on its potential Final Four opponent, and instead is just focused on its own buildup for a third straight title.
“We will just have to be ready for whoever we will face. We cannot choose. We have to take care of our own business in terms of preparation,” Lions coach Ronnie Magsanoc said on Wednesday.