It will be the UAAP’s University of the East Red Warriors and the NCAA champions San Beda Red Lions in the Last Dance of the Collegiate Champions League.
In the first game, the Warriors pulled through in their match against the gritty Mapua Cardinals to clinch the first Finals spot. In my opinion, there was no surprise there. The Lions followed suit in the next game, just squeaking past the upset-minded Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 61-58. That was a surprise.
JRU’s Floyd Dedicatoria, runner-up in last season’s NCAA MVP race, helped the Bombers keep the game close. Heck, JRU even led by two at halftime, and had a lot of chances to steal the game in the dying minutes. Unfortunately, the Bombers muffed those opportunities, sending NCAA MVP Sam Ekwe and his crimson pack into the Finals. The penultimate game of the CCL is slated to be played this Sunday, October 22.
So, how will the Battle of the Reds turn out? SBC may have Sam Ekwe and Yousif Aljamal, but UE also has a couple of long, lean, mean machines in the likes of Borboran, Gregorio, and Espiritu. Barring any collapse from either team, we can expect the Finals to go down the wire.
If Sam Ekwe keeps out of foul trouble and further knee injury, my bet is that the Lions will take their first CCL crown. However, that’s a big if — the Ekwelizer was kept out by foul trouble for most of the first half in their JRU game, and he asked for a substitution late in the fourth canto, obviously bothered by his knee.
Let’s just tune in on Sunday to see who’ll emerge triumphant. And one final word — this “minor” league called the Collegiate Champions League is turning out to be quite a gem.
Many thanks to Ia Lucero for the graphics.
[tags]CCL, san beda, red lions, ue, red warriors, jru, heavy bombers, mapua, cardinals, sam ekwe, ncaa, uaap[/tags]