MANILA, Philippines -- The National University (NU) Bulldogs, still smarting from their 61-58 loss to Centro Escolar University (CEU) last Wednesday, will try to bounce back and inch closer to a quarterfinals berth in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup, when they face Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) at the San Juan Arena on Friday.
The Bulldogs, at 3-1 in Group C of the pre-season tournament, are favorites over the EAC Generals (2-2) in their 2:15 p.m. match-up.
“Bilog ang bola,” said EAC coach Gerry Esplana. “Syempre, we have everything to gain from playing them hard and going for a win. It will give our team confidence not only in this tournament but also in the NCAA.”
In other seniors action, Letran hopes to catch up with Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) in the Group B standings when they open the Filoil quadruple header at 10:45 a.m.
The LPU Pirates are at 3-2 while Letran is at 2-2 after surviving gritty stand by St. Clare College in their last outing, 83-79.
Over in Cebu in the tournament's first ever road games, UAAP champion La Salle and Filoil defending champion UE will make their southern debuts against fancied home sides at the Mandaue City Sports Complex.
UE, which nailed a huge win over JRU last Monday for a 1-2 record, will take on the University of San Carlos (1-3), which was eliminated by Southwestern University last Thursday.
The Red Warriors will need a win against the USC Warriors if they want to advance in the tournament.
“I am excited about these games,” said UE center Charles Mammie. “It will be a huge test for us to see if we have bounced back from our earlier losses in Filoil and to play on the road against teams that will have the home crowd cheering for them.”
The La Salle Green Archers battle with the dangerous Southwestern University Cobras in the main game at 7pm. SWU currently holds a 3-0 record in Group A while La Salle is at 1-1.
The two squads were protagonists in last year’s Philippine Collegiate Championship that the Green Archers won, 2-1. But the Cobras are raring to show that they are not pushovers.
With rookies Jasper Parker and Anton Pardo adding much-needed scoring to back up old reliables Mark Anthony Tallo, Landry Sanjo, and Adam Mohammed, SWU has been a tough foe.
The Cobras won their two matches in Manila, defeating Jose Rizal University and the University of Perpetual Help.