Three UAAP squads and one NCAA team battle for places in the finals of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Preseason Cup Saturday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan. Each one hopes to develop a winning mentality in the preseason and, hopefully, carry the momentum into their mother leagues this season.
Here's how they match up:
NATIONAL U VS. ATENEO, 3:30 PM
The Bulldogs stake their unbeaten slate in the preseason tournament against no less than the four-time UAAP champions and defending Filoil Cup titlists.
NU swept its eight elimination games and held off University of Santo Tomas, 77-68, in Wednesday’s quarterfinals. But NU coach Eric Altamirano sees their match-up against the Blue Eagles as the real test for his vastly-improved squad.
“It will be a very, very tough game for us,” said Altamirano. “It is good that we are winning but more importantly, we are learning from this experience. We are going to gain something facing Ateneo.”
Ateneo coach Norman Black is also bracing for a tough match. “They seemed to be very fluid on offense with Ray Ray Parks playing at a high level, it’s going to be a very difficult game for us,” Black said.
The Blue Eagles got a big lift from Greg Slaughter during their 74-63 quarterfinal win over Far Eastern University when he scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his return from an ankle injury.
SAN BEDA VS. DLSU, 5:15 PM
Just like the Bulldogs, the Red Lions are also putting their unbeaten slate on the line against dangerous De La Salle in the other semifinal match-up at 5:15 p.m.
After going 8-0 in the eliminations, the Red Lions torched College of Saint Benilde in the quarterfinals, 80-41.
“Every game is a big challenge for us and hopefully, we will be able to overcome it,” said San Beda coach Ronnie Magsanoc.
The Green Archers are coming off a morale-boosting victory against NCAA runner-up San Sebastian, 84-70, but coach Gee Abanilla said they are still underdogs against the Red Lions.
“Talaga namang napakadehado namin sa San Beda. They are really playing good basketball right now. They just came from the States and they are really very fluid in their game. Ang puhunan lang siguro namin is ‘yung hardwork, character and discipline,” said Abanilla.