FIVE teams, including two from Cebu, will be joining the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup preseason tournament for the first time, hiking the number of participating schools to 21.
Cesafi champion University of Visayas and Cebu rival University of San Carlos, Holy Trinity College of General Santos City, Naascu titlist Centro Escolar University and St. Clare College are now in the roster of teams in the tournament that will open on April 23 at The Arena in San Juan.
Southwestern University, which made its debut in the Filoil tournament last year, will also see action.
“We saw how well they played towards the end of Filoil and during the PCCL where they defeated La Salle. The exposure to top-flight competition helps. This year, we are continuing that expansion by not only adding new teams but also taking the games out of town,” tournament director Joey Guillermo said about the teams from the provinces.
Former PBA and MBA cager Felix Belano, head coach of the UV Lancers, said playing against teams from the UAAP and NCAA will definitely be a big boost as they prepare to defend the Cesafi crown.
“Siguradong magiging malaking tulong sa team namin ang paglaro sa Filoil dahil we can gain exposure. We will be able to gauge the competitiveness of our team against other teams especially those belonging to the big collegiate leagues like the NCAA and UAAP,” said Belano, still the only Filipino cager to post a quadruple-double in one pro game.
“It’s a big opportunity for our players to play against the best and most promising players from around the country,” Belano added.
The pre-season collegiate basketball tournament is sponsored by Flying V, Filoil, Total, Hanes, San Miguel Corporation, Starmobile, Timex, Silverworks, Gatorade, LGR and in part by Meralco, BDO, Reyes Barbecue, Douwe Egberts, Gerry’s Grill, Brothers Burger, Molten, Bayo, Oxycan, BPI, PBCom, RFM, San Marino, Red Logo, and Bacchus Energy Drink.