Stags take on struggling Blazers

SAN SEBASTIAN tries to stay within in the play-in zone as it faces struggling College of Saint Benilde Friday in the National Collegiate Athletic Association seniors basketball tournament at the La Salle Greenhills Gym.

Teams ranked from third to sixth after the single-round eliminations will make it to the play-in round to determine the two other Final Four qualifiers.

Running No. 6 with a 3-4 won-lost record, Stags coach Egay Macaraya hopes that his troops will play with a sense of urgency in the 3 p.m. match with the Blazers, who are in a two-game losing streak.

San Sebastian is half-a-game ahead of No. 7 Arellano University, which takes on Lyceum of the Philippines University at 12 noon also on Friday.

“They are a very good hustle team,” Macaraya said of the Blazers. “What’s important is for us to be composed the whole game.”

Sitting in fourth place with a 4-3 card, the Blazers still have a shot of making it to the top two, but their fate of clinching one of the two outright Final Four berths is not entirely on their hands.

Defending champion Letran and San Beda continue to lord it over in the standings at 6-0 with the two bitter rivals needing one more win for an automatic passage to the Final Four.

Mapua, which at 5-2 is a game ahead of Saint Benilde, looms to be a major threat to the co-leaders. The third-running Cardinals have a huge game against the Red Lions Saturday, a match that will determine their fate.

Both outside the play-in range, the Chiefs (2-4) and the Pirates (1-5) cannot afford to lose anymore if they want to make it past the elimination round.