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Lions, Archers duel for crown

NCAA champ faces UAAP heavyweight in preseason tournament championship duel
/ 05:05 AM June 23, 2019

There was very little doubt at the start of the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup that anyone who wanted their hands on the hardware would have to go through reigning NCAA champion San Beda.

And for some, it might be a surprise that La Salle is  serving as the final hurdle for the Lions. After all, the Archers are coming off a turbulent campaign in the UAAP and its offseason was highlighted by a coaching staff revamp.

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San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez thinks otherwise.

“That team (La Salle) is not only well-coached, but they have very good players,” Fernandez underscored. “You cannot say they are rebuilding. They have veterans and top recruits who are also experienced. We will have to be at our best to match them.”

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San Beda and La Salle battle for the crown on Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre, the highlight of a series of championship duels to cap the two-month run of the tournament.

The Red Lions, unbeaten in nine matches, hope to win their third Filoil crown all at the expense of the Green Archers, who have won this tournament four times.

La Salle enters the title series with just two losses, one of them an 83-78 defeat to San Beda in the elimination round.

But La Salle has learned a lot since that loss.

“We are healthier at the moment and able to get good performances from our starters and our bench,” coach Gian Nazario said. “We have some players with championship experience, but San Beda has more. So, it will come down to both experience and desire.”

In other title duels, undefeated Xavier and San Benildo dispute the 11-Under crown at 9 a.m.

Two other squads will try to complete a perfect run to the title in the high school division finals when Nazareth School of National University and San Beda, both sporting 6-0 records, duke it out at 12 noon.

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Although both high school programs are unbeaten, Red Cubs coach Manu Iñigo feels his squad is the underdog in the title showdown.

“I think NU having won the NBTC and the UAAP is the favored team. We can only give it our best and hope for the best,” he said.

Tickets to championship on Sunday can be purchased at the gate of Filoil Flying V Centre or through Ticketnet.

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TAGS: De La Salle, FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup, San Beda
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