As playoffs loom, teams plunge into key matches
MANILA, Philippines–As the jockeying for quarterfinal berths in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup intensifies, Saturday’s triple-header at Filoil Flying V Centre could help untangling playoff complications.
University of the Philippines (2-2) takes on Centro Escolar U (2-1) needing a win in the 2 p.m. match to keep it north of .500 and buy time for injured stars Juan Gomez de Liaño, Bright Akhuetie and Kobe Paras.
A loss to the Scorpions could put the Maroons on backpedal mode and shine a spotlight on their inconsistency thus far.
The Letran Knights try to solidify their playoff bid when they seek a fifth win in six games in their 4 p.m. duel with the Adamson Falcons.
The Knights, who have been fielding a patched-up roster because of injuries to key players, have been sharp in the preseason with Larry Muyang, Christian Balagasay and athletic forward Ato Ular shouldering a lot of the team’s load.
Adamson is gunning for a third win in four games behind sterling newbies Joem Sabandal, AP Manlapaz and Aaron Fermin, who have provided solid performance to backstop veterans Jerrick Ahanmisi, Simon Camacho, and Papi Sarr.
Meanwhile, San Sebastian tries to stretch its unbeaten start to the tournament to three when it takes on gasping Mapua at 5:45 p.m.
San Sebastian has certainly exceeded expectations in thje preseason, with veterans JM Calma, RK Ilagan, and Allyn Bulanadi leading a 2-0 start in the absence of injured forward Alvin Capobres. Kenneth Villapando, Mario Bonleon, and Alex Desoyo have also been steady for coach Edgar Macaraya.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, have yet to find their groove in this tournament despite playing with a veteran-rich roster led by the likes of Laurenz Victoria, Justin Serrano, Christian Buñag, Denniel Aguirre and Noah Lugo.