DEFENDING champion La Salle faces a familiar foe in San Beda as the two teams tangle for the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup on Sunday at The Arena in San Juan.
The 5 p.m. encounter is a rematch of last year’s title match won by the Green Archers.
Although the Red Lions, reigning five-time NCAA champions, won their elimination round encounter against the Archers in overtime, 86-80, San Beda coach Jamike Jarin said the team is still hungry for the title and get back at their finals tormentor last year.
“Versus La Salle is very ironic,” said Jarin. “Because they’re our first game and also our last game. We’re hungry because we won the first game.”
“(It’s) gonna be fun. NCAA versus UAAP, expect a heavily fought match,” added the San Beda mentor.
The two teams arrange the title rematch by disposing their respective semifinal opponents in contrasting fashion.
La Salle turned back UAAP mifinals tormentor Far Eastern University, 84-71, while San Beda survived a gritty Jose Rizal University fightback to prevail, 81-77.
Art dela Cruz, Nigerian import Ola Adeogun, sophomore Ranbill Tongco, and rookie Amiel Soberano are expected to carry the load for the Red Lions, while La Salle will have Jeron Teng, Thomas Torres, Jahal Tratter, and Jason Perkins to lean on.
But Archers coach Juno Sauler stressed the return trip to the Finals is not about bagging back-to-back pre-season crowns, but more on the team improving as a cohesive unit just before the coming UAAP season.
Meanwhile, FEU and JRU battle each other for third place at 3 p.m.