NATIONAL University and Adamson collide as old rivals La Salle and Far Eastern University face off in the semifinals of the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup on Thursday at Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
NU, although undefeated in its nine games, remains wary with lead guard Steve Nash Enriquez nursing a hamstring injury that has ruled him out of the tournament.
"Kulang kulang kami, pero ang gusto ko lang sa players ko kahit na maraming injury, kahit sino pwedeng mag-step up," said coach Jeff Napa after the Bulldogs' 75-64 win over San Sebastian. The Bulldogs, champions in 2012, are eyeing their third finals appearance.
Adamson, meanwhile, is looking to reach its first championship series after making it to the semis for the fifth time.
"Slowly, the other guys are understanding yung need nila to perform kahit wala yung ibang players namin," said coach Nash Racela the Falcons, without top gun Jerom Lastimosa, hurdled Lyceum, 83-71.
In the other bracket, four-time champion La Salle looks to book its ninth finals appearance.
Coach Derick Pumaren hopes the Green Archers learned their lessons from their close 83-74 encounter against St. Benilde. "We can't be complacent even though we're undefeated. We have to be prepared at all times," he said, challenging the likes of Kevin Quiambao, Michael Phillips, and Schonny Winston to show consistency in their games.
Standing in La Salle's way is FEU, though, which has been on a tear, winning its last three games including a 72-63 quarterfinal win against University of the Philippines.
"Malaking confidence boost ito para sa mga bata lalo na't we're showing how we can perform against dun sa mga inaasahan nating contenders, " said coach Olsen Racela with L-Jay Gonzales and Bryan Sajonia leading the way for the Tamaraws.
NU edged Adamson, 63-57, in their Group A clash last August 5, while La Salle routed FEU, 65-49, to start their Group B campaigns way back on opening day last July 23.