San Sebastian faces first day winner Arellano

Games today(Filoil EcoOil Centre)12 p.m. — SSC-R vs AU3 p.m. — San Beda vs EAC

ARELLANO University (AU) tries to show its opening day win over host Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) was no fluke while San Sebastian eyes to set in motion to its Final Four bid as the two collide today in the 98th NCAA basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

Given little chance after playing with eight rookies on their roster, the Chiefs proved their doubters wrong and pulled the rug from the Generals, one of the pre-season favorites, in a 63-58 win Saturday at the Big Dome.

Journeyman Darrel Menina, who played for Mapua, National University and University of Cebu before ending up at AU for a “one-and-done” stint, led his team to victory with a clutch 15-point effort.

A win over the Stags in their 12 p.m. duel would put the Chiefs on top, which would be a shocker to most since a lot of experts belittled the latter entering the season.

“We just want to play with pride each game,” said AU coach Cholo Martin.

AU though will have its hands full against San Sebastian, which is out to make a big dent and improve on its eight-place finish a season ago.

Surprisingly though, the Stags are tipped to finish big this season after solid performances in pre-season tournament.

“Our goal is always to win every year. Hopefully we could finish big this season,” said SSC mentor Egay Macaraya.

Meanwhile, EAC and San Beda aim to bounced back from their stinging losses as they tackle each other at 3 p.m.

The Lions, brandishing their rookie coach Yuri Escueta, succumbed to the Mapua Cardinals, last year’s runners up, in a 66-55 result Saturday.

Meanwhile, San Beda has secured the commitment for talented high school recruit James Payosing to play for the team next year, according to team manager Jude Roque.

Mr. Payosing is a 6-1 shooting guard from Bislig, Surigao and should be a great add for the Lions. — Joey Villar