Surprise leaders CEU, JRU face tough Filoil hoops foes
AFTER topping their groups, Centro Escolar University and Jose Rizal University try to stretch a surprising run when they face two tough UAAP foes in the quarterfinal round of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup today.
“Even if we got a 7-1 record [in Group B eliminations], we have to forget it,” said CEU coach Egay Macaraya. “It’s a different ball game in the quarters. If you lose, you’re out.”
The Final Eight kicks off with CEU battling Far Eastern University in the 11 a.m. knockout match at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Group A leader JRU (7-1) battles University of the East in the second game at 1 p.m.
“We’re on the top of the standings because we’re playing aggressive basketball,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses.
Fierce NCAA rivals San Beda and Letran collide at 3 p.m., while Perpetual Help and La Salle clash in the last of a four-game bill at 5.
Macaraya said his Scorpions aim to make the most out of their edge over the Tamaraws, who will have to do without star Mac Belo.
Belo, together with Perpetual’s Scottie Thompson and San Beda’s Baser Amer, left for Singapore last weekend to play for the national team in the Southeast Asian Games.
Perpetual coach Aric del Rosario expects the Altas to put up a fight even without Thompson, the NCAA MVP last season, as rookie center Bright Akhuetie had also been dominating.
“He’s been playing really well,” Del Rosario said of Akhuetie, the 6-foot-8 Nigerian who is averaging 23 points and 13 rebounds.