PERPETUAL Help’s Big Three has gotten a fourth, and expect the fearsome foursome to be San Beda’s targets on defense as the Red Lions and Altas collide on Wednesday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Earl Thompson, Juneric Baloria, and Harold Arboleda have been putting up magnificent numbers on a consistent basis, while Justine Alano has emerged as an addition to the triple threat.
The Altas are now without do-it-all Nigerian forward Nicholas Omorogbe, but the Las Piñas-based dribblers are doing fine, and coach Boyet Fernandez knows it will be a tough task for his Lions.
“Even if they don’t have an import, their four guys are playing like imports,” Fernandez said.
The defending champion Lions, seeking to strengthen their hold of top spot with a seventh victory in eight games, have their own reinforcement in Ola Adeogun, who has been struggling with fouls but still manages to put up solid statistics.
Aside from the Nigerian slotman, the Lions boast their own Filipino standouts in Baser Amer, Art dela Cruz, and Anthony Semerad.
Now, the two squads test each other’s mettle as they clash at 2 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s Final Four matchup, which the Lions won handily, 70-51.
The Lions have beaten the Altas five consecutive times, dating back to the 2012 season and look to continue their winning streak.
But the Altas, running third with a 4-2 win-loss card, try to do whatever it takes to snap the skid, including taking a leaf out of the playbook of College of St. Benilde, which dealt the Lions their first and only loss so far in Season 90, an 83-76 decision two Mondays ago.
“Nakita naming nahirapan ang San Beda sa mga double-team (kay Ola), siguro baka gawin rin namin yun,” Altas coach Aric del Rosario said.
Lyceum and San Sebastian, two teams on a slump, face off in the second game at 4 o’clock.
The Pirates sport an even 4-4 record, but have lost twice, while the Stags have likewise cooled off after starting the season with a 3-1 slate, losing their last three outings.