National University and Far Eastern University are all set to dispute the Filoil EcoOil Preseason title as they cross paths in the one-game championship on Saturday at Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
It's been an astounding preseason showing for the Bulldogs who swept all of their 10 games, including a stunning 71-70 semifinal win over Adamson in overtime last Thursday.
But coach Jeff Napa wants NU to remain hungry ahead of the 5 p.m. finale, saying, "Big challenge ito para sa amin."
"Gusto kong ma-experience nila 'yung ganitong level of competition kasi test of character ito. Dito namin makikita kung nasaan na ba kami."
John Galinato, John Lloyd Clemente, and Senegalese big man Omar John will all be counted on to lead the Bulldogs as they eye a perfect 11-0 run in the famed preseason tourney.
The Tamaraws, however, could not be discounted as they have won 6 of their last 7 games since starting the tilt at 0-2, with their last being a 71-67 overtime stunner at La Salle's expense in the semis.
L-Jay Gonzales, Bryan Sajonia, and Cameroonian center Patrick Tchuente are expected to once again lead the rumble for FEU, but coach Olsen Racela's main focus is on how he can further finetune his wards ahead of the UAAP season.
"What we're focused on is how we'll play against NU. Every game is an opportunity for us to grow," he said.
It's shaping up to be a battle of attrition between NU and FEU as their showdown provides the fitting culmination for the tournament after three years of inactivity.
La Salle will be awarded with the third place honors after Adamson politely begged off from playing the bronze medal game, owing to prior commitments in Surigao.