The San Sebastian Stags are in a lofty position for the first time in years.
They are sharing the lead with the defending champion San Beda Red Lions and the College of St. Benilde Blazers in the 95th National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament.
Their grip on the top spot will be challenged when the Stags meet the Lyceum Pirates at 2 p.m. today at the FilOil-Flying V Arena.
Stags’ coach Egay Macaraya wants to give the Pirates a good fight as they bid to grab the lead with their fourth consecutive victory.
“Kung mas gaganda laro nila sa LPU, much better for them because mapupunta sila sa PBA and I can say, ‘Hey! Isa ‘yan mga naging players ko,’” said Macaraya after the Stags demolished the Mapua Cardinals, 92-68, last week.
Earlier, the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers will clash with the University of Perpetual Help Altas at 12 noon, while the Letran Knights will meet the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals at 4 p.m.
In the junior side, the Lyceum Junior Pirates will go for win no. 4 against the Staglets at 10 a.m.
The Stags look formidable with the return of veteran Allyn Bulanadi, along with veterans RK Ilagan and Alvin Capobres.
Ilagan leads the Stags with an average of 22.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 1.5 steals, while Capobres and Bulanadi can back up Ilagan with their norms of 13 and 11 points.
Hurdling the Pirates will allow the Stags to take the solo lead.
On the other hand, the Pirates are back on the winning track following their upset to the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, and after their 79-71 beating of the Cardinals.
Getting past the Stags will force a three-way tie for second spot.
“It’s going to be a challenge because because San Sebastian is doing pretty great. From the start, they have been strong,” said Lyceum coach Topex Robinson.