In the opening game of the 87th season of the NCAA, the defending champion Red Lions set out to prove that they could be just as dominant without Sudan Daniel, and they accomplished just that, blowing out the host team Perpetual Help Altas by 30 points, 82-52. It certainly didn't help the Altas' cause that, in addition to losing their two big men prior to the games being played, Paul Nuilan and Marlon Gomez, Perpetual lost two players during the course of the battle, Jeorge Allen and Anthony Paulino. On the other side, Rome Dela Rosa sizzled, scoring 15 points in 15 minutes on 6 of 7 shooting, while big men Jake Pascual and Dave Marcelo posted twin double-doubles. (Recap here)
What's at Stake:
- The 26-game win streak of the Red Lions (8-1) is now over, having fallen late against the Golden Stags. That may not be such a bad thing, as the burden of carrying a streak can wear down on a team. In any case, San Beda will raring to show that though they may not be undefeated, they are still pretty dominant, and they get a great match-up in Perpetual Help to show off that fact.
- The cellar-dwelling Altas (1-8) have seen more than their share of bad luck, what with Jeorge Allen getting injured again. As early as now, the post-season is out of the question, and so it becomes a matter of how many losses they can inflict on other teams to prevent them from getting an easy road to the Final Four.
SBC Player to Watch : Jake Pascual flashed all-around numbers, finishing with seven points, eight rebounds, five assists and five blocks. He'll likely dominate the interior of this game as well, with or without Jeorge Allen in the paint.
UPHSD Player to Watch : Jett Vidal continues to lead the Perpetual Help Altas in scoring, with an 11.7 average. The problem though is how inefficient his numbers can be at times, topping 30 percent from the field just three times this season (albeit he hit the 50 percent mark twice). Vidal has already felt the wrath of San Beda's defense, shooting just 2 of 15 in their first round encounter, so he'll need to pick and choose his spots in this rematch.
Prediction: SBC Red Lions