DEFENDING champion FEU-NRMF-Gerry’s Grill and Emilio Aguinaldo College clash in a rematch of last year’s title showdown even as Philippine National Police and Philippine Christian University make their much-awaited debuts in the 2017 MBL Open basketball tournament at the EAC Sports Center.
The Tamaraws and the Generals take the floor at 6 p.m. today with the memory of their winner-take-all title duel five months ago still fresh on the their minds.
FEU-NRMF defeated EAC, 103-83, to capture its first MBL title last Dec. 6.
Handled by coach Pido Jarencio and manager Nino Reyes, the Fairview-based Tamaraws swept their first two assignments against Victoria Sports-MLQU (89-57) and Wang’s (80-67).
FEU will be backstopped by Fil-Canadian Clay Crellin, Fil-German Glenn Gravengard, ex-PBA star Jerwin Gaco, veterans Erwin Sta. Maria, Edwin Asoro, Dexter Zamora and import Moustapha Arafat.
EAC, which is being handled by coach Ariel Sison and assistant coach Bong Melocoton, will be led by Sidney Onwubere, Jethro Mendoza and Allan Martin.
PNP, which is still buoyed by winning its first UNTV Season 5 championship, and PCU, which is girding for the next NAASCU season, collide in the 7:30 p.m. main game.
With PCRG head Gen. Gilberto Cruz, Col. Jerome Balbontin and coach Eric Samson at the helm, the Responders will open fire with a line-up that counts on Ollan Omiping, Abul Khair Bayabao, Harold Sta. Cruz, Jayman Misola and Anton Tolentino.
The Elvis Tolentino-mentored Dolphins will rely on former MBL MVP Jon Von Tambeling, Mike Ayonayon, Yves Sazon, Fidel Castro. Brett Palatao and Andro Catipay.