ARELLANO University and Letran aim for win No. 9 that will keep themselves in the Final Four mix as they tangle eliminated squads Mapua and College of St. Benilde, respectively, today in the NCAA seniors basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Victories by the Chiefs and the Knights will guarantee that they will be at least one playoff match away from the remaining semifinal berth up for grabs.
Resurgent Arellano and Letran are currently tied with the idle San Sebastian, which will play University of Perpetual Help System Dalta on Thursday, at 8-9 in fourth.
Granting that the Chiefs and the Knights will prevail, the Stags could make it a triple tie at No. 4 if they hurdle the Altas, and a two-game playoff will ensue to determine the last semifinalist.
Lyceum of the Philippines University (17-0), San Beda (16-1) and Jose Rizal University (11-7) have long booked the first three berths in the playoff round.
Making one final stand, Arellano has won its last three contests, including a 62-52 conquest of Perpetual Help Thursday.
The Chiefs, however, lost ace player Kent Salado, who injured his right MCL (medial collateral ligament) last week and will be out for the rest of the season.
Arellano, somehow, had Levi dela Cruz filling the huge void left by Salado, who leads the team in scoring.
Also, Lervin Flores and Rence Alcoriza, who teamed up for 35 points against the Altas, are also giving their all to keep the Chiefs afloat.
“As I keep saying, we have to step up and find ways to fill that void,” said Arellano coach Jerry Codiñera.
Emilio Aguinaldo College (6-11) and Perpetual Help (4-12) clash in a meaningless game which has nothing at stake but pride at 12 noon.