(The Arena, San Juan)
2 p.m. – San Beda vs Letran
4 p.m. – USC vs FEU
Two schools will be calling themselves champions of this year’s National Collegiate Championships (NCC).
This after the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) released a statement declaring that the winners of today’s supposed final four would be declared co-champions of the 2015 NCC tournament.
The knockout games were supposed to be held yesterday but had to be held off due to the heavy rains and winds that typhoon Nona brought to the country.
“The PCCL board has decided to shorten the NCC competitions in consideration of safety and convenience of students and players. Therefore, the winners of today’s games will be declared as co-champions of 2015 National Collegiate Championship and shall share the prize awards due them,” said the PCCL statement.
Still, today’s double-header would not be void of excitement as the rivalry between Letran and San Beda will be reignited when the two NCAA rivals clash this afternoon.
It was not too long ago when fans were treated to a classic three-game affair between the two, with the Knights ending the Red Lions’ long time reign in the NCAA in a thrilling overtime game three in victory.
While it has only been two months, the two squads will be displaying different cast of characters with most of their core heading to the pros and the controversial transfer of a championship winning coach.
Gone are the likes of Mark Cruz and Kevin Racal who are now strutting their wares in the PBA. Aldin Ayo, Letran’s beloved coach who steered them to their first title in 10 years, is now in La Salle after an abrupt transfer just a month ago.
Juniors head coach Raymund Tiongco is expected to handle Letran on an interim basis while still having guys like Rey Nambatac, McJour Luib and Jom Sollano on his disposal.
The Red Lions will be playing minus their big three of Ola Adeogun, Baser Amer and Art dela Cruz. Also gone from the line-up are rotation guys like Ryussei Koga and Micole Sorela but coach Jamike Jarin hopes to get the same effort from guys like Dan Sara, Donald Tankoua and transferee Robert Bollick as he expects a tough grind from Letran.
In the other pairing, UAAP champion Far Eastern University will be tested by the confident CESAFI champions, University of San Carlos who have already taken down two UAAP schools in the tournament.
Their latest victims were the UST Growling Tigers, posting a 72-62 victory.
“Ito na talaga yung opportunity na maipakita nila yung talent nila,” said USC Interim coach Bong Abad.
All eyes will once again be on Cameroonian reinforcement Shooster Olago who has averaged 19 points and 14 boards in their previous two games.