CEBU CITY – The Philippine Collegiate Champions League brings its stepladder act to this basketball-mad city on Tuesday with the staging of the three-day Southern Islands Championship at the Cebu Coliseum.
Four teams kick off their respective campaigns on opening day starting with the 2 p.m. curtain-raiser between West Negros University of Bacolod and Holy Trinity of General Santos City.
The main game will have nine-time Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) titlist University of the Visayas (UV) going up against University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR).
West Negros University and Holy Trinity both earned the right to play in the tournament after topping the Visayas and Mindanao qualifiers, respectively, in Dumaguete and Iligan City last month.
On the other hand, UV and USJ-R advanced deep into the meet after finishing runner-up and third place in the recent 2012 season of the Cesafi.
The Green Lancers of coach Felix Belano are all eager to make up for a disappointing winner-take-all loss in the Finals against the Southwestern University Cobras after losing grip of a huge 18-point lead in the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter.
“We are more prepared now more than ever. We practiced twice a day for this tournament. We are eager to bounce back from that disappointing Game Five against Southwestern in the championship series. That’s what's driving us and motivating us to do well,” said Belano.
Tuesday’s winners will face off on Wednesday at 2 pm for the right to face Southwestern on Thursday for a berth in the Final Four.
Coinciding with the Cebu games are the marquee match-up featuring powerhouse teams from Manila led by reigning PCCL champion San Sebastian.
The Stags take on the National University Bulldogs at 4 p.m., while the La Salle Green Archers and Adamson Falcons square off at 2 p.m. Thursday.