MANILA, Philippines - San Sebastian and San Beda, the 87th NCAA finals protagonists and two schools that got involved in an ugly incident last week, renew their bitter rivalry as the Philippine Collegiate Champions League Final Four starts today at The Arena in San Juan.
The Stags and the NCAA champ Lions hit the court at 4 p.m. in their first duel since a highly physical best-of-three showdown in the NCAA cage wars.
Some see extra fireworks in the showdown, three days since the Red Lions basketball team of coach Frankie Lim and the Stag's volleyball squad figured in a brawl in the NCAA's volleyball competitions at the SBC gym, leaving SSC coach Roger Gorayeb and libero Mae Crisostomo with swollen faces.
Although the theme of revenge for a comrade is apparently in the air, SSC's basketball mentor Topex Robinson isn't going to turn this match into a "basket-brawl" with the Lions.
"It's a chance for us to prove to everyone that we're not squatters," said Robinson. "I told them that it's an extra motivation for us since it was like a sister and a father who got involved in that fight."
Another old rivalry explodes in the 2 p.m. curtain raiser as giants Greg Slaughter of UAAP four-peat champion Ateneo and Junmar Fajardo of CESAFI victor and Southern Island titlist University of Cebu lead their respective teams.
The 6-11 Slaughter and the 6-10 Fajardo pick up from where they left off in the CESAFI, Cebu's prominent varsity league. Slaughter starred for University of the Visayas and disputed cage supremacy in the Queen City of the South against Fajardo prior to transferring to Manila to join Ateneo.
Slaughter spearheaded the UV Lancers' three-peat romp in the CESAFI and continued his winning ways with the Eagles in the UAAP. Fajardo was left to dominate, leading the Webmasters to back-to-back titles.