Tall rookies tipped to steal show in Ateneo-La Salle duel
MANILA—Prized rookies get a taste of varsity’s fiercest rivalry in the first summer clash between Ateneo and La Salle in the FilOil-Flying V Hanes Preseason Premier Cup on Saturday.
Although the spotlight is expected to fall on Ateneo’s freshman star Kiefer Ravena, the towering new recruits of the Blue Eagles and the Green Archers will steal attention in the 4 p.m. blockbuster battle at the FilOil-Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Archers have beefed up with Arnold Van Opstal, a 6-foot-8 former Junior Archer; 6-6 Fil-Canadian Norbert Torres, a former national youth team ace; and 6-4 Ponso Gotladera, an ex-San Beda Red Cub.
Greg Slaughter, the 6-11 Smart Gilas mainstay, has also boosted Ateneo’s frontline that includes veterans JP Erram and Justin Chua.
Tickets to the game are sold separately from the 12:30 p.m. clash between San Beda and Santo Tomas.
The Eagles, bannered by Kirk Long and Nico Salva, aim to wrap up their elimination run with a victory even after securing a quarterfinal berth in Group A with a 5-1 record.
But the game remains crucial for the Archers, who are running sixth with a 2-3 card.
With only two quarterfinal berths left in Group A, the Archers hope to prop up their bid versus the Eagles and also against the winless Lyceum at 2:15 p.m. today in San Juan.
Powerhouse San Beda (3-2), also fighting for a Final Eight slot in Group A, tangles with San Sebastian (5-1) at 12:30 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s NCAA Finals.
Mapua (4-3) tries to nail Group B’s last quarterfinal berth against the University of the Philippines (5-2).