La Salle left to raise UAAP pride as NCAA teams make a bid in Filoil Cup semifinals
Aldin Ayo expects La Salle to have its hands full against darkhorse Lyceum. Jaime Campos

THREE NCAA teams and one UAAP squad will vie for finals seats when the Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup semifinals gets going on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Unbeaten San Beda faces off with surprising fellow NCAA side Jose Rizal University in the second game of the seniors semifinals at 5 p.m.

Lyceum, on the other hand, will look to arrange an all-NCAA titular showdown, but standing in the Pirates’ way are the reigning Filoil and UAAP champions La Salle Green Archers in the first game at 3:15 p.m.

San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez expects a defensive showdown against the Bombers after the Red Lions beat University of the Philippines, 65-56, in a low-scoring game.

“It’s another defensive team,” said Fernandez. “Coach Vergel (Meneses) really did a good job against Adamson. JRU has been playing well this preseason as well as in the D-League. It gave them a boost of confidence. We just have to prepare for JRU.”

JRU coach Vergel Meneses sees a daunting task against San Beda in their semifinal match due to the Red Lions’ depth.

Lyceum coach Topex Robinson said regardless of the result, the game against La Salle will be an opportunity for the Pirates to improve.

But that doesn't mean the Pirates aren't going for an upset.

“We couldn’t just be happier to play them. If there is a team that we want to play here, it’s those teams. At the end of the day, we are going to learn a lot from them,” said Robinson, who will lean on CJ Perez for offense.

La Salle coach Aldin Ayo, meanwhile, lauded the team Robinson has formed with Lyceum. A former foe in the NCAA when he was still a coach of Letran, Ayo said Robinson has a team that fits his system.

“We have to dictate the pace ng laro. Grabe ‘yung pace nila, takbuhan sila, gusto nila maraming possessions. With the players they have, lahat ng mga ‘yun parang cheetah, takbuhan ng takbuhan.

“’Yung binuo ni coach Topex, very compatible sa system that he has – run and gun, shooters, and they have players na trap ng trap,” said Ayo.

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