RULING their respective mother leagues may already be fulfilling, but that is not stopping La Salle and San Beda from further striving for supremacy in college basketball.
And this time, the UAAP and NCAA titlists try to sustain their winning tradition in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan where they collide in the last day of the semifinals.
The Green Archers and the Red Lions face off at 4 p.m. in a virtual knockout for a spot in the final where the winner of the Far Eastern University-Southwestern University duel two hours earlier also get a berth.
The De La Salle-San Beda match also comes just five days after the two teams played to a 74-all draw in a benefit game for Yolanda survivors.
Expect another fierce battle between the champions as they are well aware of the significance of the Champions League.
“There are only three major tournaments that I’m looking at,” Lions coach Boyet Fernandez said. “No offense to the other leagues, but it’s the Filoil (Cup), NCAA, and PCCL.”
“Being the champion in the PCCL will make us the number one basketball program in the country. It’s bragging rights for us,” added Fernandez, whose team survived Letran in three games to win a fourth successive title in the NCAA just last month.
Given automatic slots in the Final Four, the Archers and Lions are well aware the slot in the title round won’t be handed to either of them on a silver platter.
And losing their first games in the single-round Final Four denied them of a chance to meet in the final round.
There’s an abundance of talent on both sides with Baser Amer, Ola Adeogun, and Art dela Cruz spearheading the Lions.
“They’re a very strong team,” said Archers coach Juno Sauler, who will count on his own powerhouse squad led by Jeron Teng, Almond Vosotros, Norbert Torres, and Matt Salem.
“Everyone is a potential threat. We just have to study the game and come up with a good game plan.”