College rivals take Filoil center stage
COLLEGIATE basketball’s fiercest rivals collide today, all hoping to gauge their preseason buildup in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup.
UAAP heavyweights Ateneo and La Salle clash at 4 p.m., right after reigning NCAA champion Letran and perennial contender San Beda tangle at 2 p.m. at Filoil Flying V Centre.
“We’ll see how far we’ve gone,” new La Salle coach Aldin Ayo said as the Green Archers try to stay unbeaten in five games. “If we don’t exert effort, we’re going to be in trouble. We always preach that we have to play desperate basketball.”
Favored over the Blue Eagles (3-1), the Archers have been banking on the strong plays of rookie big man Ben Mbala and star Jeron Teng.
“It’s a long process,” said Ateneo coach Sandy Arespacochaga, who’s been calling the shots in the tournament as Tab Baldwin serves as consultant.
“We’re taking it one step at a time. But we need to pick it up every game because we’re preparing for the UAAP.”
The Archers are coming of a 94-85 dismantling of the Red Lions where Mbala (26 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks) and Teng (23 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block) dropped huge numbers.
Filipino-American Jordan Clarkson, the LA Lakers’ rising star who arrived in Manila Friday, is expected to watch the games a day after gracing the unveiling of Gilas Pilipinas’ team kit.
Other matches pit National University and Emilio Aguinaldo College at 9:30 a.m., UAAP champion Far Eastern U and St. Benilde at 11:15 a.m., and University of the East and Mapua at 6 p.m.
The Lions (3-1) also hope to sustain their solid outings against a Knights side still adjusting with new coach Jeff Napa.