The NCAA men’s basketball tournament shifts to a higher gear on Saturday when the second round of competition unfurls, with the upper-half teams battling for playoff positioning and teams in the bottom fight for their lives to catch the Final Four bus.
The schedule was released on Thursday, with some of the anticipated playdates listed below.
San Beda gets tested right away on Saturday against Lyceum, which dealt the defending champion Red Lions a stunning 70-66 decision in the first meeting last June 24. Now poles apart in the standings, the Lions and Pirates meet anew at 6 p.m.
Two opponents later, the Lions face College of St. Benilde on September 19 at 4 p.m. The first meeting between the Lions and the Blazers ended with San Beda on top after a buzzer-beating alley-oop play finished by Art dela Cruz that broke the hearts of the Benilde faithful — the first of a string of close losses.
Two heavyweights then collide on September 26 at 6 p.m. with San Beda taking on University of Perpetual Help. The first meeting was won by the Lions, 72-65, but only after weathering a late Altas storm.
Arellano and Emilio Aguinaldo College face off on October 5 at 4 p.m. in a rematch of the first round that saw a scuffle between the Chiefs’ James Forrester and the Generals’ Sidney Onwubere. Both players meted suspensions.
Another meeting of giants ensues on October 10 at 4 p.m. when Letran takes on Perpetual Help. The Altas walloped the Knights, 80-66, last august 15 in what turned out to be the Letran’s only loss in the first round.
Finally, the league’s fiercest rivalry gets renewed as the Knights battle the Lions on October 21 at 6 p.m.
All the games are slated at The Arena in San Juan, with juniors’ games at 12 noon and 2 p.m., and the seniors’ games at 4 o’clock and 6 o’clock, respectively.