Collegiate champions De La Salle University and San Beda College star in a titanic clash for the championship of the 11th FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup today at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) titleholders Green Archers aim to defend the preseason crown when they take on the undefeated Red Lions, the National Collegiate Athletic Association champions at 4 p.m.
La Salle dodged a major meltdown as it escaped Lyceum of the Philippines University, 100-99, on Leonard Santillan’s game-winning three-point play to book its seventh finals appearance.
San Beda battered Jose Rizal University, 80-64, in the other semifinals pairing to take its fifth shot at the title.
The boys from Taft and Mendiola figured in the preseason finals thrice, with the Archers taming the Lions twice, in 2007 (89-81) and 2014 (71-66).
Spearheaded by Ola Adeogun and Art de la Cruz, the Bedans mauled a Jeron Teng-led La Sallians, 79-53, in 2015 despite playing minus their star playmaker Baser Amer.
In the latest match that pitted the two collegiate powerhouse teams, San Beda came out on top over La Salle, 82-80, in the elimination round of Group A.
UAAP Season 79 Most Valuable Player Ben Mbala is expected to carry La Salle on his shoulders as he emerged as the league’s top scorer with 23.6 points per game and No. 2 in rebounds with 11.5 boards.
San Beda looks to rely on former Archer Robert Bolick, who averaged of 14.6 points and five assists.
With four championships under its belt, La Salle is the winningest squad in the tournament’s history.
Meanwhile, Lyceum seeks to make its first podium finish in the Premier Cup as it faces Jose Rizal U in the battle for the third place at 2 p.m.
In the juniors division, Ateneo de Manila University and Mapua-Malayan tangle for the title at 10 a.m. even as National University and University of Sto. Tomas square off for the third place at 12 p.m.