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Friday, March 1, 2024

Lions, Knights rekindle rivalry

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San Beda and Letran renew one of collegiate basketball’s fiercest rivalries with the former eyeing to fortify its grip on the No. 2 spot and the latter hoping to continue to draw inspiration from a fallen teammate Jerrick Balanza today in the 94th NCAA basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

The Lions will come into their 2 p.m. showdown as the favorites having secured having comfortably occupied a place in the top two with a 10-1 (win-loss) mark behind the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates (11-0) and having beaten the Knights, 80-76, in overtime on Aug. 10.

Robert Bolick and Donald Tankoua were instrumental in San Beda’s first-round win over Letran, while AC Soberano had his share of heroism by burying a pair of three-pointers in OT.

“We expect it to be tougher for us because we know Letran is a strong team and is always a contender,” said San Beda University coach Boyet Fernandez.

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For Letran, it seeks to ride the crest of its 99-82 win over Arellano University on Thursday for a win it dedicated to Balanza, who recently had a surgery that removed a tumor on his brain.

“We will dedicate all our remaining games to Jerrick,” said Napa.

CSB, meanwhile, takes on San Sebastian at 4 p.m.

The Blazers lost to the Stags in their first-round duel, but the league forfeited it after San Sebastian’s RK Ilagan was caught to have played in other leagues outside the NCAA. 

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