UAAP champion UP shoots for solo lead

UP Maroons’ forward Carl Tamayo — FILECO SPORTS

REIGNING UAAP champion University of the Philippines (UP) shoots for a solo lead while defending NCAA titlist Letran finally dives into action against separate opponents in the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

The Fighting Maroons collide with fellow UAAP squad University of the East (UE) at 5 p.m. in Group A right after Letran’s Group B debut against another NCAA team in Jose Rizal U at 3 p.m. to headline the quintuple bill.

Emilio Aguinaldo College and University of Perpetual Help System Dalta open the show at 9 am. followed by matches of Far Eastern U-San Sebastian and Arellano-National U at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.

The spotlight is on the undefeated Maroons under the leadership of Gilas Pilipinas forward Carl Tamayo as they go for a 3-0 card in Group A.

Mr. Tamayo who’s lording it over the Filoil competition with double-double averages of 19.0 points and 12.5 rebounds.

Mr. Tamayo’s Gilas teammate in Rhenz Abando, on the other hand, is expected to banner the Knights in their Filoil debut along with ace guard Fran Yu.

Both UP and Letran are touted as the heavy favorites to top their respective groups as only four teams from each pool will advance to the knockout quarterfinals after a single-round robin eliminations.

The Fighting Maroons and the Knights are gearing up for their defense bids in the UAAP and the NCAA, which will return to a full calendar in September after compressed formats last season. — John Bryan Ulanday