San Sebastian-Cavite hopes to become the lone provincial team to make it past the opening round of the Fil-Oil Flying V Philippine Collegiate Champions League Final Challenge when it battles Letran today at The Arena in San Juan.
Jose Rizal and Far Eastern U clash in the other game in the final double-header in the Sweet 16 phase of the elite tourney staking to the winner the right to represent the country in the Universiade in Serbia next year.
The winners in today’s matches face each other in the quarterfinal round of the event sponsored by Smart, PLDT, Fil-Oil, Flying V, KFC, Adidas, Accel, Greenwich and The Philippine STAR.
SSC-Cavite is the lone provincial team left following the exit of Cebu-based squads San Jose Recoletos, San Carlos and University of Visayas.
The first six quarters slots went to Metro Manila teams Ateneo, San Beda, La Salle, Mapua, Arellano and UE. The Eagles, the Lions and the Archers are seeded teams while the Cardinals, the Chiefs and the Warriors are qualifiers.
Though seeded in the tourney being the NAASCU champions, the Baycats of coach Egay Macaraya are expected to have their hands full against the Knights bannered by a number of players exposed in the PBL.
Narrowly missing the NCAA finals, the Knights of coach Louie Alas had to go through the zonals to make the Champions League proper.
Like Letran, FEU is a qualifier that should not be taken for granted.For one, the core of the Tamaraws plays for Harbour Centre in the PBL.
JRU coach Ariel Vanguardia himself is wary of the Tams.
“They’ve a solid lineup with good players in all positions. We expect a battle,” said Vanguardia.