FINAL Four contenders in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament seek to move a step closer toward reaching their primary goal in Season 90 on Friday at The Arena in San Juan.
Perpetual Help and Jose Rizal University break a tie in third spot as the squads clash at 4 p.m.
The Altas, who have made the semifinals the last two years under multi-titled coach Aric del Rosario, are trying to make it three straight. Based on their performance as of late, the Las Pinas-based dribblers are on track.
Perpetual Help has won eight of its 12 games this season and is riding a three-game winning streak, the latest a sensational 101-86 win over title contender Arellano last Monday.
A victory against the Heavy Bombers, who tote a similar win-loss record, will nudge the Altas to a half-game behind the second-running Chiefs.
“May chance pa kami mag-No. 2, pero hindi namin iniisip ’yun,” Altas workhorse Harold Arboleda said, referring to the second spot that comes with a twice-to-beat incentive in the playoffs. “Basta step by step lang kami.”
But it’s not going to be a walk in the park against the Bombers, who nipped the Altas, 62-61, in their first-round encounter.
That alone will motivate the Altas, who will once again rely on their fearsome foursome of Earl Thompson, Juneric Baloria, Justine Alano, and Arboleda.
“For sure, they’re going to come out strong,” said Bombers coach Vergel Meneses, whose team is aching to make its first Final Four appearance since 2011. “They will make a statement na naka-tsamba lang kami, so we have to be ready for them.”
Lyceum, in the middle of the pack with a 5-7 slate, tries to keep its own semifinal hopes alive as it takes on cellar-dwelling Mapua earlier at 2 o’clock.