PRIDE and bragging rights will be there for the taking as college basketball’s most compelling
rivalry in Ateneo and La Salle get it on one more time Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The highly-entertaining, but fiercely competitive match dubbed `Blue vs. Green: Dream Game 2012’, is set at 6 p.m., and features a Green Archers side of coach Franz Pumaren and a Blue Eagles squad of coach Norman Black both reinforced by current and one-time PBA players.
The two bitter school rivals fought to a 90-90 standoff the last time they fought for a good cause in 2008, although the Eagles put one over the Archers in 2005 when Enrico Villanueva hit the game-winning three-pointer, 88-85, in a match best remembered for the fracas that broke out between Villanueva and Joseph Yeo.
Both Villanueva and Yeo will be suiting up again for their respective schools, making this charity match, presented by the PBA in cooperation with Mastermind Entertainment for the benefit of young cancer patients of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), all the more intense.
Apart from Villanueva, also seeing action for the Katipunan-based school are Japeth Aguilar, Noy
Baclao, Doug Kramer, L.A. Tenorio, Larry Fonacier, J.C. Intal, Wesley Gonzales, Magnum Membrere,
Eric Salamat, Rich Alvarez and Paolo Bugia.
Yeo will be joined at the La Salle bench by JV Casio, Mike Cortez, Mac Cardona, RenRen Ritualo, TY Tang, Ryan Arana, Don Allado, Rico Maierhoffer, Carlo Sharma, Jerwin Gaco, Willie Wilson and JR Aquino, a late replacement for Brian Ilad.
Black and the rest of the Eagles held two practices prior to the game, which the Ateneo coach
expects to be `fun and yet competitive.’
“As much as possible I want to give each guy a decent playing minute, but since we only have L.A. Tenorio, and perhaps Eric Salamat, as our point guard, then I think L.A. will have to do a lot of playing,” said Black, who steered the Eagles to a fourth straight UAAP men’s basketball
championship last year.
In contrast, the Green Archers only played together as a team just once, although Pumaren doesn’t see any problem as far as cohesion is concerned.
“All of these players have, one time or another, played under me, so medyo kapado ko narin kung
sino ang dapat magkasabay-sabay sa loob ng court,” said Pumaren, who, in his decade-long stint
with La Salle, steered the school to four championships in a row from 1998 to 2001.
Other than playing for charity, both coaches agreed the exhibition game will also be a chance for players to reconnect with each other and reminisce the good old days.