MANILA -- The Malayan Red Robins are going to get another shot at La Salle Greenhills (LSGH).
“We feel we shouldn’t have lost,” noted Malayan assistant coach Ian Racela during the press conference for the 6th Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championships (PSSBC) Dickies Underwear Cup at the Sha Tin Courtyard in Quezon City. “Sana dito makabawi kami.”
The Red Robins were favored to annex a second consecutive NCAA Juniors crown but LSGH upset them in a title series that went the full route of three games. The Greenies survived a last-ditch attempt by Malayan at the buzzer to cop their first title since leaving the main Taft campus of La Salle for Greenhills.
The six-day PSSBC tourney, which tips off ong December 16 with the championship game played on December 21 at the SGS Stadium in Quezon City, pits four UAAP schools, four NCAA squads, three Filipino-Chinese Amateur Athletic Federation teams, and one Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. against one another.
“We got the top squads of each league -- although Ateneo High School and De La Salle Zobel begged off so UPIS and UST took their spots – and grouped them into four brackets,” explained PSSBC organizer Edster Sy. “It’s a pocket tournament to complement the main leagues and the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas’ grassroots programs.”
Group A is composed of Far Eastern University, San Beda College, and Manila Patriotic School. National University, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, and Chiang Kai Shek College are in Group B.
Making up Group C are the University of Santo Tomas, Malayan Institute of technology, and the University of Visayas. And lastly, Group D lists the University of the Philippines, La Salle Greenhills, and Hope Christian High School.
“We were really expecting to make a move on the championship by NCAA Season 94,” bared LSGH assistant coach Vince Fran. “We didn’t beat Malayan until the championship round. Nakasungkit kami ng panalo.”
If ever the two squads meet, assuming they advance past the group stage, they could meet as early as the semi-finals or even the finals.
“But top teams 'yung nandito,” added Racela. “Hindi puwede i-take for granted lahat.”
The champion of the tourney will bring home not only the trophy but also P50,000 in cash while the second and third placers each get a trophy and P30,000 and P20,000 respectively.
“Whoever wins the PSSBC, or kahit mag-place man lang… magandang pamsako ‘to,” summed up Sy.
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