De La Salle University is out to complete a tournament sweep of the 2023 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup in the winner-take-all final showdown against University of the Philippines Wednesday at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
Game time is set at 4 p.m.
The Green Archers are coming in hot after winning all their 11 games including a blowout victory over National University in the semifinal but head coach Topex Robinson knows that the Fighting Maroons are no easy opponents.
Although La Salle bested UP in their group stage encounter, Robinson warns his crew that the Fighting Maroons still have the edge in championship experience being in the finals of the last two University Athletic Association of the Philippines seasons.
“So much respect to UP, to their program. For us, we just want to enjoy these experiences. They’re one of the barometers in the UAAP, we’re gonna have an opportunity to see where we’re at,” Robinson said.
The Green Archers behind Kevin Quiambao’s double-double outing knocked the Bulldogs off the throne in the Final Four with a dominating 86-73, win last Monday to secure a spot in the championship round.
Robinson, whose wards quickly embraced his system after taking over the coaching reins from Derrick Pumaren, will again rely on Quiambao, who had 17 points and 10 rebounds last game, to carry La Salle to the throne.
Quiambao will have the backcourt duo of Mark Nonoy and Evan Nelle as well as Mike Phillips as support on offense.
UP, on the other hand, pins its hopes on veterans JD Cagulangan and CJ Cansino to lead the charge.
The duo sparked the Fighting Maroons’ decisive 30-6 second quarter blitz on their way to a 104-69 battering of University of Perpetual Help System Dalta in the other semis pairing.
“Going towards the final on Wednesday, I think it’s good to see how we bounced back after struggling in the first quarter,” UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde said.
Aside from Cagulangan and Cansino, UP will also bank on Gerry Abadiano, Harold Alarcon, Malick Diouf and 6-foot-8 rookie Seven Gagate.
The Fighting Maroons lost to the Green Archers, 83-90, in the group stage.
Meanwhile, NU and Perpetual meet in the battle for third at 2 p.m. to be followed by the Hanes 1-on-1 King of the Hardcourt Finals between Mapua University’s Khem Sabsalon and Emilio Aguinaldo College’s Ruzzel Dominguez at 3:45.