On the run for a second straight title in the FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup, the DLSU Green Archers will battle the San Beda Red Lions in the tournament’s finals later today at the San Juan Arena. It is yet another finals rematch between familiar foes, as La Salle also faced the gritty NCAA powerhouse in last year’s edition of the tournament’s finale.
Out with the old, in with the new
FilOil, being a preseason cup, is commonly distinct with other local collegiate leagues, as it sees the initial entry of new players and rookies to the various participating squads. And with both DLSU and San Beda being known for aggressively recruiting high school standouts and promising young talents, the face-off between these new faces will definitely spell a difference in today’s finals. Moreover, the graduation of some key players will make the outcome of the match less predictable, and more likely dissimilar from last year’s run.
While La Salle no longer has Almond Vosotros, who was a vital cog in last year’s finals victory against the Red Lions, rookie Andrei Caracut has been both efficient and consistent from the three-point range, making him a solid offensive threat from the outside. Moreover, Thomas Torres’ hot shooting of 75 percent from beyond the arc during their recent match against UPHSD also creates more viable options for the Green Archers in terms of perimeter shooting. Meanwhile, as San Beda retains the services of ace big man Ola Adeogun, the Red Lions may take advantage of his solid inside presence in order to dominate the boards and notch inside points. The steady performance of Art Dela Cruz would also help San Beda in their cause to bring the preseason title to Mendiola.
The 2014 edition of the FilOil finals saw both teams on the run, not just for the crown, but for the glory that comes with it. With La Salle and San Beda being the defending champions of the UAAP and the NCAA, respectively, at that time, it became a battle between champions in order to determine who was the country’s better team. With the Green Archers eventually prevailing behind the efforts of Vosotros and 2014 FilOil MVP Jeron Teng, DLSU denied Baser Amer and the Red Lions another title.
This time around though, it is no longer a battle between champions but a battle for redemption. As La Salle failed to defend both their UAAP and PCCL crowns, seizing the FilOil crown marks the road to redemption for the streaking Green Archers. On the other hand, the Red Lions seek to avenge last year’s finals loss as they try to redeem themselves and continue their winning ways. Will the Green Archers shoot down the Red Lions? Or will the kings of the NCAA trump the boys of Taft Avenue? With only a do-or-die finals to determine the outcome, expect heightened efforts from both squads as they both aim to start their season on a victorious note.