Ateneo, La Salle battle for pride, honor in Dream Game
MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles and the De La Salle Green Archers add another chapter to their storied rivalry when they tangle anew in "Blue vs Green: Dream Game 2012" Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Both squads will be reinforced by current and one-time PBA players, with Franz Pumaren coaching the Green Archers and Norman Black leading the Ateneo side.
The charity game will be for the benefit of young cancer patients of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, according to PBA.ph.
The Blue Eagles practiced twice before the game, with Black expecting Sunday's match-up to be "fun yet competitive."
Enrico Villanueva, Japeth Aguilar, Nonoy Backlao, Doug Kramer, and Rich Alvarez wil man the front court for Ateneo, with LA Tenorio, Larry Fonacier, JC Intal, Wesley Gonzales, Eric Salamat and Paolo Bugia in the perimeter.
"As much as possible, I want to give each guy a decent playing minute," Black said. "But since we only have LA Tenorio and perhaps Eric Salamat as our point guard, then I think LA will have to do a lot of playing."
Meanwhile, the La Salle side will feature Joseph Yeo, JV Casio, Mike Cortez, Mac Cardona, RenRen Ritualo, TY Tang and Ryan Arana on the backcourt, along with big men Don Allado, Rico Maierhofer, Carlo Sharma, Jerwin Gaco, Willie Wilson and JR Aquino.
The Green Archers had only one practice session, but Pumaren does not expect this to be an issue.
"All of these players have, one time or another, played under me. So medyo kapado ko na rin kung sino ang dapat magkasabay-sabay sa loob ng court," he said.
Pumaren steered La Salle to four championships in a row from 1998 to 2001, and again in 2007.
Black, meanwhile, has been the architect of Ateneo's own four-peat from 2008 to 2011.
The Green Archers and the Blue Eagles played to a standstill in their last exhibition game in 2008, 90-90. Their 2005 exhibition ended in an 88-85 win for Ateneo after Enrico Villanueva hit a last-second three-pointer, although that game was marred by a scuffle between Villanueva and La Salle’s Yeo.