Business Mirror - - SPORTS - By Rick Oli­vares

JUST as the Uni­ver­sity Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion of the Philip­pines (UAAP) women’s vol­ley­ball duel reaches its spell­bind­ing cli­max, the pre­sea­son bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment gets un­der way on Satur­day with Ate­neo and De La Salle mak­ing their Filoil Fly­ing V Pre­mier Cup de­but against sep­a­rate foes. The Green Archers, still smart­ing from miss­ing the UAAP Fi­nal Four last sea­son, un­veil a young lineup abet­ted by vet­er­ans Jeron Teng and Thomas Tor­res with tal­ented Cameroo­nian Ben Mbala pa­trolling the lane. Un­der new Head Coach Aldin Ayo and with some ex­cit­ing new tal­ent, De La Salle has what it takes to com­pete for the UAAP men’s bas­ket­ball ti­tle. How­ever, for now, the chal­lenge is for DLSU to learn the pres­sure de­fense their coach per­fected in Le­tran, where he led the Knights to the Na­tional Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion crown last year.

Stand­ing in their way in their Filoil de­but are the Franz Pu­maren- coached Adam­son Uni­ver­sity Fal­cons that are loaded with ex­cit­ing Filipino-Amer­i­cans, in­clud­ing Jer­rick Ahan­misi, younger brother of pro Mav­er­ick, who is with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

Adam­son Uni­ver­sity and De La Salle tan­gle at 10 a.m., while Ate­neo, back af­ter a two-year ab­sence from the tour­na­ment, takes on another team with some roots from their archri­vals from Taft. The Blue Ea­gles bat­tle the Der­rick Pu­maren- coached Red War­riors, one of the league’s ex­cit­ing squads from last sea­son, at 2 p.m.

Like the Green Archers, the Blue Ea­gles, un­der coach­ing con­sul­tant and na­tional team Head Coach Tab Bald­win, will pa­rade a young lineup bereft of many of last years stars.

Ate­neo’s Pre­mier Cup ros­ter only has John Apaci­ble, Aaron Black, Chibueze Ikeh, Matt Ni­eto and Vince To­lentino as holdovers.

“Right now, we’ve split our play­ers into as many leagues, as we can play,” As­sis­tant Coach Sandy Ares­pa­cochaga said. “We want to give as much ex­po­sure to ev­ery­one on our ros­ter, in­clud­ing Team B.”

The Blue Eaglets take on reign­ing NCAA ju­niors cham­pi­ons San Beda Red Cubs at noon. The Blue Eaglets will have 6-foot-9 cen­ter Kai Sotto, son of pro player Ervin, in the lineup.

Tick­ets to the Filoil Fly­ing V Pre­mier Cup are avail­able at the gate of the Filoil Fly­ing V Cen­tre in San Juan or at all Ticket­net branches.

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