Filoil preseason on: Eagles duel KnightsBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
STILL formidable despite the departure of key players, Ateneo kicks off its bid for back-to-back titles when it battles Letran at the start of the 2012 Filoil-Flying V Pre-Season Hanes Cup.
The Eagles, powered by the talented duo of Kiefer Ravena and Greg Slaughter, take the floor at 2 p.m. against the Knights at the Filoil-Flying V Arena.
San Beda begins life under new coach Ronnie Magsanoc as it tangles with La Salle at 4 p.m.
National U, tipped to finally figure prominently in the UAAP title race, collides with Jose Rizal U at 6 p.m., capping a three-game bill of the tournament presented by Bostik Philippines Inc., in cooperation with Total Philippines Corp.
But focus will be on the Eagles as they begin their buildup for a fifth straight title in the UAAP.
Ateneo coach Norman Black is taking a no-nonsense approach to the tournament.
“Of course, we will always play to win every game,” said Black. “There’s a lot of tough competition in this tournament and these teams will certainly provide a lot of challenge for us.”
Ravena, the UAAP’s top newcomer last season, and Slaughter are coming off stirring rookie seasons with Ateneo.
The Knights are capable of giving the Eagles problems with Kevin Alas and Mark Cruz leading the attack.
Magsanoc, a former San Beda high school ace, will get his baptism of fire against the Archers. He replaced Frankie Lim a few weeks ago.
Jake Pascual and Rome dela Rosa, who played key roles in San Beda’s title romp in the NCAA the past two seasons, are the notable returnees for the Lions.
Like Magsanoc, Gee Abanilla is also making his coaching debut for La Salle.
Invited to grace the opening rites at 1 p.m. were Philippine Olympic Committee chair Monico Puentevella, Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia, Rep. JV Ejercito and San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez.
Tickets for today’s opening games are available via SM Tickets at 4702222 or at the Filoil Flying V Arena gates.