Bulldogs-Archers Filoil title showdown upBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
NATIONAL University aims to complete a perfect summer run with a championship in the Filoil Flying V Presason Hanes Cup today.
Fresh from forging the league’s biggest upset, the Bulldogs go for an 11-game tournament sweep against the La Salle Green Archers in the winner-take-all finals at 4 p.m. at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Both squads arranged the unlikely title showdown after ousting varsity heavyweights Ateneo and San Beda in their respective knockout semifinal game last weekend.
But NU coach Eric Altamirano does not see the game getting any easier even if his Bulldogs shocked the four-time UAAP champion Blue Eagles with an 85-68 rout in the Final Four.
“We are facing a different La Salle team,” said Altamirano. “They have a good system, they have young, talented players, so we can’t treat them lightly.”
The Archers similarly pulled off a stunner over the Red Lions, the reigning NCAA champions, 50-46, in the other semifinal pairing.
“We’re just happy that we got this far in the tournament,” said La Salle coach Gee Abanilla. “We’ll definitely try to go for it on Tuesday, even if we know we’re the underdogs.”
Ateneo and San Beda, the two collegiate kings initially tipped to clash in the finals, will battle for third place at 2 p.m.
In juniors action, the San Beda Red Cubs and the Letran Squires clash for the crown at 12 noon, after Xavier and NU dispute third spot at 10 a.m.
The Bulldogs are favored with reigning UAAP MVP Ray Parks and Emmanual Mbe and a reliable support crew led by Jeoff Javillonar and Denice Villamor.
“We have to be really focused against them,” said Altamirano.
Almond Vosotros and LA Revilla lead La Salle’s talented backcourt, while rookie standouts Jeron Teng and Mark Tallo have also given the Archers extra scoring options in the tournament presented by Bostik Philippines, in cooperation with Total Philippines, and major sponsors Kia Motors, TMS Ship Agencies, Inc., Vulcaseal, Bayo, BDO, Molten, Nature’s Spring and Oxycan.