IT’S defense versus offense as heavyweights San Beda and Perpetual Help try to formalize their entry into the Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan.
The league-leading Red Lions are currently the best defensive team, allowing just 60.2 points per game, while the Altas average a league-best 73.6 points per game.
Tipoff is set at 6 p.m.
San Beda also looks to extend its winning run to five and cement its hold of No. 1, while Perpetual is trying to stretch its streak to four and vault to the top of the standings.
The Altas, sporting an 11-3 win-loss card, are only a half-game behind the Lions, who have emerged victorious in all but two of their 13 games.
“Winning will give us a little bit of separation from the teams that are closely behind us,” Lions coach Boyet Fernandez said.
“We know that our defense will be crucial as it can be a gauge on whether or not it will lead us to greater heights this season,” he added.
San Beda beat Perpetual, 72-65, in their first-round encounter where the Lions rode on Baser Amer’s clutch play.
Amer, who had 23 points against the Altas last July 27, is again expected to carry the scoring load as they battle a gritty bunch led by rookie sensation Juneric Baloria and versatile forwards Harold Arboleda and Nicholas Omorogbe.
Emilio Aguinaldo College tries to sustain its playoff push as it takes on Lyceum earlier at 4 o’clock.
The fifth-running Generals, riding the momentum of a stunning 87-64 win over Letran, seek a seventh win in 14 games that would level their record at .500, while the Pirates seek to improve their 4-9 win-loss card.