DEFENDING champion San Beda, now undefeated for more than a year, seeks to move closer to completing a first round sweep when it tangles with College of Saint Benilde today in the NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The Red Lions and the Blazers were supposed to play last Aug. 2 but was called off due to bad weather. Both teams were unbeaten during that time.
As St. Benilde suffered a 71-74 loss to Lyceum of the Philippines University that ended a remarkable five-game winning run, San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez is bracing for their opponents' rebound in the 12 noon contest.
"No rest for us. We have to be ready," said Fernandez.
"Again, this is the year that CSB is playing well. For us, we have to treat every game as very important game for us. It has been a tiring week for us. We are playing back-to-back-to-back games for us. We just have to manage the players and have enough energy going into Friday's game against CSB," he added.
At 7-0, the Lions are the only undefeated team in the season and have not tasted defeat in the last 21 games since dropping a 66-73 first round decision to the Pirates on Aug. 21 last year.
LPU tries to bounce back from last Tuesday's 73-88 setback to San Beda as it takes on Arellano University at 4 p.m., while San Sebastian and University of Perpetual Help System Dalta cross paths at 2 p.m. in another Friday tripleheader.
Stags coach Egay Macaraya will be back after serving a one-game suspension, while his counterpart Frankie Lim will return to the Altas bench after the school put him "on leave" in the previous game.
The 15-point win over the Pirates in the rematch of the last two championship series proved that the Lions are still the league's gold standard.
Evan Nelle, who ably filled the huge shoes left by Robert Bolick in the backcourt, knows that it is still a long journey ahead for San Beda to make it back on top and the sophomore guard is determined to make it happen.