This appears on philstar.com
Provincial teams look to make mark in Filoil tourney
by rick olivares
When the eighth season of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup tips off on April 23 at the San Juan Arena, five college teams will be participating for the first time in the country’s most prestigious pre-season tournament.
Among the 43 squads -- including 21 seniors, 10 women’s and 12 high school teams -- participating in the tournament are CESAFI champion University of Visayas, University of San Carlos, and Southwestern University; Holy Trinity College of General Santos City; and National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities champion Centro Escolar University and St. Clare College. SWU participated in last year’s tournament.
According to Filoil tournament director Joey Guillermo, the addition of teams from the Visayas, Mindanao and NAASCU is part of a carefully orchestrated plan to expand the tournament across the archipelago. “Our plans for expansion began last season when we invited SWU,” pointed out Guillermo. “We saw how well they played towards the end of Filoil and during the PCCL where they defeated La Salle. The exposure to top-flight competition helps. This year, we are continuing that expansion by not only adding new teams but also taking the games out of town.”
Reigning Filoil champion University of the East and UAAP champion La Salle will go on the road this May 22-25 to play matches in Cebu against the Cebu-based teams. “If the provincial teams are excited to play in Manila, so are the Manila schools excited to show what they can do in Cebu,” quipped La Salle team manager Raffy Villavicencio about the road matches.
Felix “Donbel” Belano, a 10-year PBA pro who is known for his lengthy stint with Talk ‘N Text and is on his third year of coaching the UV Green Lancers, is excited about the upcoming Filoil tournament, “Siguradong magiging malaking tulong sa team namin ang paglaro sa Filoil dahil we can gain exposure. We will be able to gauge the competitiveness of our team against other teams especially those belonging to the big collegiate leagues like the NCAA and UAAP. It’s a big opportunity for our players to play against the best and most promising players from around the country.”
Belano will count on two players who were instrumental in leading UV to last year’s CESAFI title to lead his Manila campaign in 5’7” point guard John Abad, the CESAFI Finals MVP, and 6’5” power forward Wowie Escosio who is the first ever rookie/MVP of CESAFI during the 2012 season.
Holy Trinity Wildcats coach Pol Torrijos agrees with Belano’s outlook for the tournament, “We are very honored to be invited to join Filoil. It will be a gauge for not only our team but also for our program as we will play against the best from all over the country. We have to learn from this experience. We will be fielding the team that was the Mindanao champion for the 2012 and 13 PCCL.”
The pre-season collegiate basketball tournament is sponsored by Flying V, Filoil, Total, Hanes, San Miguel Corporation, Starmobile, Timex, Silverworks, Gatorade, LGR and in part by Meralco, BDO, Reyes Barbecue, Douwe Egberts, Gerry’s Grill, Brothers Burger, Molten, Bayo, Oxycan, BPI, PBCom, RFM, San Marino, Red Logo, and Bacchus Energy Drink.