MANILA, Philippines - La Salle and San Beda battle it all out for all the marbles in today’s Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup finale in a dream showdown between the reigning UAAP and NCAA champions at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Archers displayed championship defense in turning back the Southwestern U Cobras, the Cebu champions, 72-64, while the Lions dodged the bullet and escaped a 63-62 win over the stubborn Centro-Escolar U Scorpions, 63-62, to arrange a title duel between Phl college basketball’s cream of the crop set at 4 p.m.
It will be the UAAP against the NCAA. La Salle’s efficient bigs against Nigerian banger Ola Adeogun. Jeron Teng versus Arthur dela Cruz. Baser Amer against Almond Vosotros. Deep bench against deep bench.
Call it what you want but this is basketball at its best.
“It’s champion versus champion. Now time to show who is the real champion,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez.
La Salle and San Beda have already made league history by becoming the teams with most finals appearances with four each although the two came out of their trips during those occasions with contrasting results.
The Taft-based dribblers have emerged winners of the league’s first two stagings in 2006 and 2007 by beating Jose Rizal, 79-67, and San Beda, 89-81, the following season before losing to National U, 64-54, two years back.
The Mendiola cagers, for their part, fell short in their first three finals stints, losing to La Salle in 2007, University of the East the next year and Ateneo again the next season and are looking forward to ending their title-drought.
Interestingly, Fernandez said his team lost to La Salle two times, the first a tune-up game that ended up lopsided and the other in last year’s PCCL action, and drew once in a charity game late last year, since he took over the coaching chores
“We hope to end up with a better result this time,” said Fernandez.
For La Salle coach Juno Sauler, the tougher team gets to hoist the championship trophy.
“San Beda, as always, is tough. And I think the tougher team wins the title,” said Sauler.