SAN Sebastian aims for outright entry into the semifinals when it takes on also-ran College of St. Benilde on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan.
Tipoff is at 4 p.m. with the fourth-running Stags, already assured of at least a playoff for the last Final Four berth, hoping to avoid complications in matches against San Beda and Letran.
“Both of them are a tough nut to track,” Stags coach Topex Robinson said of the top two teams in the league. “If we win against Benilde, that’s the time we’re gonna worry about San Beda or Letran.”
A victory for the Stags will not only enable them to finish their elimination-round win-loss record at 11-7, but also earn them a shot at the No. 3 spot in a playoff with struggling University of Perpetual Help.
“As of now, we don’t want to look at that. We want to take care of Benilde first and whatever happens to us in the Final Four, we’ll be happy,” Robinson said.
A loss, on the other hand, will give fifth-running Emilio Aguinaldo College (9-8) a chance to catch up and earn a shot at a semifinal spot.
The Stags, riding the crest of a 71-65 win over the Altas, are definitely not looking past the eliminated Blazers, who have only five wins to show in 17 games.
“We hope we could double our effort against Benilde because it will mean a lot if we get it and prepare us for the Final Four,” said Robinson, who is counting on rookies Jamil Ortuoste, CJ Perez, Brad Guinto, and Leo de Vera.
Behind Paolo Taha, Mark Romero, and Jonathan Grey, the Blazers hope to finish the season on a bright note as they have once again underachieved following a string of heartbreaking results.
Arellano (7-9) and Jose Rizal University (6-11) face off at 6 o’clock in a no-bearing encounter.