The 12th edition of the FilOil Flying V Premier Cup, the preeminent preseason tournament for NCAA and UAAP schools, opens on April 21 with a doubleheader at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City. Fans are sure to look forward to seeing again their favorite collegiate stars while putting focus on a fresh crop of rookies and transferees.
As an added attraction for this year, the Gilas Pilipinas Cadets will be participating as part of their build up for tournaments leading to the 2023 FIBA World Cup which the country is co-hosting with Japan and Indonesia. Gilas will be bannered by Kobe Paras, Ricci Rivero and a bunch of the best young hoops talents to be coached by Joseph Uichico.
A quick acid test awaits them in the person of reigning UAAP champion Ateneo de Manila University in the day’s main game at 6:30 PM. Action is expected to be tight as the Blue Eagles will draw power from the likes of Thirdy Ravena, twin brothers Matthew and Mike Nieto and big Isaac Go with former national coach Tab Baldwin calling the shots.
A simple opening ceremony will be held at 4:00 PM. This will immediately be followed by the clash between De La Salle University and University of the Philippines at 4:30 PM.
Fans will get to see the extent of DLSU’s preparations under new coach Louie Gonzalez. The Green Archers will try to extend their winning ways despite the exit of several key players most notably former UAAP Most Valuable Player Benoit Mbala.
If DLSU lost their prized foreign student, UP is agog with the debut of Bright Akhuetie who sat out a year after transferring from University of Perpetual Help System-Dalta. The Nigerian behemoth will get a lot of support from veterans Paul Desiderio, Juan Gomez de Liano, Jun Manzo and Diego Dario.
DLSU, Ateneo, UP and Gilas are part of Group A together with defending FilOil and NCAA champion San Beda University, National University, Mapua University, University of Perpetual Help System-Dalta, University of the East and Emilio Aguinaldo College. Group B consists of Far Eastern University, Adamson University, Arellano University, Jose Rizal University, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, College of Saint Benilde, San Sebastian College and University of Santo Tomas.
The teams will play their group mates once with the top four in each group advancing to the knockout playoffs. The championship game is scheduled for June 25.
There will also be action in the Juniors Division with defending champion Malayan High School of Science leading Group A along with UAAP champion Ateneo de Manila, NCAA champion La Salle Green Hills and perennial powerhouse San Beda College-Rizal in a virtual group of death. Group B has Far Eastern University, Nazareth School of National University, Colegio de San Juan de Letran and CeSAFI champion Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu which is competing for the very first time.