After the SSC-R Golden Stags won the title back in 2009, San Beda came roaring back with a sweep through the tournament last season, beating San Sebastian four times on the way to the title, as the Stags' lack of depth hindered them from going toe to toe with the Red Lions. A summertime clash in the Fil-Oil tournament didn't tell us much either, as the Stags lost 97-81, but they played without Ian Sangalang and Calvin Abueva.
What's at Stake:
- With both teams entering this contest at 8-0, this game becomes a fight for the number one spot in the standings, and gives the winner a sweep of the first round. The loser will fall to number two with an 8-1 record, nothing to sneeze at, but no doubt, both squads have even just slightly, contemplated a possible elimination round sweep.
SBC Player to Watch : No doubt, the Stags will look to zone up San Beda, just like every other team has, to slow them down. And when they do, the Red Lions will turn to Garvo Lanete to shoot their way out of it. He's currently averaging 18.6 points and 2.88 triples a game at a 37 percent clip, but I expect the Stags to try to slow him down by putting either Ronald Pascual or Calvin Abueva on him as a deterrent.
SSCR Player to Watch : Which Calvin Abueva will we see on Friday? Will it be the guy who will attempt four triples and make none of them or the guy who will make 69 percent of his shots? The 13 of 15 from the foul line version or the 7 of 12 one? 10 assists? eight turnovers? If "The Beast" can put together an efficient all-around game, this will be theirs to lose. If he doesn't, then he may just hand this game over to the reigning champs on a silver platter.
Prediction: SBC Red Lions