San Beda faces Arellano, tries to keep in step with unbeaten Lyceum

San Beda College tries to keep in step with unbeaten Lyceum of the Philippines University as the reigning NCAA men’s basketball champions Red Lions face off with last year’s Finals victim Arellano U on Tuesday at the Filoil Arena in San Juan City.

The Lions survived the Perpetual Help Altas, 57-53, in an “NCAA on Tour” game on Aug. 17 at the Perpetual Help Gym to stay at second spot with a 7-1 (win-loss) record.

A victory over the Chiefs, whom the former swept in last season’s finale, in their 4 p.m. will push them closer to the Pirates, who finished the first round on top with a perfect 9-0 slate.

The defending champion will be playing an Arellano U side that is coming off an 87-81 win over St. Benilde Friday.

Rookie Levi dela Cruz unleashed a career-high 24 points to make up for Kent Salado’s subpar nine-point effort while helping the Chiefs secure their third win against five defeats to enhance their Final Four aspiration.

San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez took notice of Arellano’s sudden emergence.

“We know that their main man is Kent Salado but we have to be ready because they have players who can step up also,” said Fernandez, who just a few days ago steered the Cignal HD to the PBA D-League Foundation Cup crown.

Jose Rizal, for its part, seeks to keep its hold of the no. 3 spot with a 5-3 (mark) as it takes on Mapua, currently at the bottom of the standings with a 1-7 card, at 2 p.m.

The Bombers, who downed the San Sebastian Stags, 73-62, at the San Sebastian Gym in Mendiola, Manila Thursday, will be brandishing their feared defense when they take on the Cardinals.

In eight games, Jose Rizal has held down its foes to a league-low 62 points a game.

Also, Teytey Teodoro is on a resurgence as of late, exploding for 19 points including a pair of booming triples in the fourth quarter that powered Jose Rizal to its recent victory.