San Beda, Letran renew rivalry in quarterfinal KO match in Filoil Cup
Mark Cruz the Knights have become a very discplined team under rookie coach Aldin Ayo. Dante Peralta

LOOK who’s facing each other in a knockout quarterfinal match of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup at The Arena in San Juan on Wednesday.

It’s no less than NCAA rivals San Beda and Letran.

The Knights and Lions square off at 3 p.m., with the Intramuros-based squad looking to avenge its two Finals losses in 2012 and 2013 against the reigning NCAA champions under new coach Aldin Ayo.

“Mas pu-push lang niya (Ayo) kami sa defense kasi doon kami kumukuha ng offense namin,” said Letran ace guard Mark Cruz, who likened the Knights to a troop of disciplined soldiers under the rookie drillmaster.

“Para kaming mga sundalo. Once na hindi ka sumunod may punishment ka,” he added. “Ngayon may discipline kami, masyadong disiplinado ang mga players.”

Cruz and Rey Nambatac will be at the forefront of a Knights’ side that will try to upend a powerhouse San Beda squad bannered by Ola Adeogun, Art dela Cruz, and Ryusie Koga.

San Beda point guard Baser Amer will miss the remainder of the tournament as he is with the Gilas Pilipinas cadet currently playing in the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Perpetual Help and La Salle battle at 5 a similar knockout encounter.

Altas coach Aric del Rosario admitted wanting to face San Beda instead, although he added the team is ready whoever its opponent is.

“Gusto ko sana San Beda na para magkaalaman na,” said the veteran mentor. “Pero kung La Salle, ok ako kahit sino kalaban.”

Nigerian import Bright Akhuetie, who leads all scorers at the end of the eliminations, is again expected to carry the offensive load for the Altas in the absence of last year’s NCAA MVP Earl Thompson, who's also with the national team in Singapore for the SEA Games. 

In the other matches, Jose Rizal University and University of the East tangle at 1 p.m. and Centro Escolar University and Far Eastern University square off at 11a.m.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada