WANGS Basketball @27 Striker – Letran and Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda rekindle their rivalry, while Centro Escolar University and AMA Online gun for their first win in the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Tuesday at the Fioil EcoOil Center in San Juan.
Bringing their animosity from the NCAA, the Knights (0-0) and the Red Lions (1-1) lock horns in the main game at 4 p.m. after the opening duel between the Scorpions (0-1) and the Titans (0-1) at 2 p.m.
San Beda split its first two outings – a loss against neophyte PSP Gymers and a big win versus reigning champion EcoOil-La Salle – before testing the mettle of long-time collegiate rival Letran in its debut.
“Kailangan handa kami sa defending NCAA champion (Letran). We have utmost respect for them, they’re the 3-peat NCAA champion for a reason. It’s a rivalry so let’s see,” said San Beda mentor Yuri Escueta, who’ll be up against a new Letran counterpart Rensy Bajar.
Bajar has been appointed last month to succeed Bonnie Tan with a mission of extending the Knights’ winning tradition, starting in the D-League.
Both squads are parading young units with the graduation of their key stalwarts. Yukien Andrada and Jacob Cortez banners San Beda’s bid against Letran holdovers Kurt Reyson and Kobe Monje.
CEU and AMA, meanwhile, are out to shrug off their opening day losses and barge into the winner’s circle at the expense of each other in an expected gritty duel.
“Most of our players are first timers in PBA D-League. They were overwhelmed not only being on TV but also playing against the defending champs. I have to do a better job of preparing them, not just physically but mentally as well,” said coach Jeff Perlas as CEU bowed to La Salle in the opener, 84-62.
“Baka i-activate na namin ‘yung key players namin. And we need to adjust our defense especially vs CEU na may import. We need gang rebounding against them,” said AMA mentor Mark Herrera.
AMA mainstays Earl Ceniza, Reed Baclig and Cian Golloso did not play in the Titans 101-57 loss versus La Salle and instead took their acts in a barangay league without seeking clearance from the school, prompting the team to sanction the trio.disciplinary.
Games on Tuesday
(Filoil EcoOil Center)
2 p.m. – CEU vs AMA
4 p.m. – Wangs Basketball @27 Striker-Letran vs Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda