7 p.m. -- FEU-NRMF vs. Wang's Ballclub
DEFENDING champion FEU-NRMF-Gerry's Grill and Wang's Ballclub-AsiaTech clash in the early battle of favorites today in the 2017 MBL Open basketball tournament at the Aquinas gym in San Juan.
Game time is 7 p.m. with both FEU-NRMF and Wang's seeking a fitting follow-up to their opening-day victories and the early lead in the prestigious tournament sponsored by Smart Sports, Dickies Underwear, Star Bread and Gerry's Grill.
FEU-NRMF's 1-2 punch of Fil-German sensation Glenn Gravengard and Clay Crellin are again expected to lead the Fairview, Quezon City-based team along with ex-PBA star Jerwin Gaco and veterans Erwin Sta. Maria and Edwin Asoro.
Gravengard and Crellin combined for 32 points in FEU-NRMF's 89-57 win over Victoria Sports-MLQU last April 8.
The 6-1 University of British Columbia Thunderbird struck hardest in the second period when he scored 11 points, mostly on drives and mid-ramge jumpers.
Sta. Maria and Gaco also came through with double-digit scores for FEU-NRMF of businessman-sportsman Nino Reyes and coach Pido Jarencio.
Wang’s-AsiaTech relied on two pressure-laden free throws by former Arellano University standout Ralph Salcedo to subdue NCAA member Emilio Aguinaldo College, 82-81.
Joining Salcedo in the Pablo Lucas-mentored team are Rey Publico, Mark Montuano, John Tayongtong, Eric King, Steven Cudal, Argen Sabalza and Mar Reyes.
Two more teams -- newly-crowned UNTV Season 5 champion Philippine National Police and former NCAA titlist Philippine Christian University-- will make their debut on Saturday.
The PNP Responders will be handled by Police Community Relations Group (PCRG) head Gen. Gilberto Cruz and Col. Jerome Balbontin and veteran coach Eric Samson, while the PCU Dolphins will be headed by PCU president Dr. Junifen Gauuan, ISPEAC head Dr. Putli Martha Ijiran, coach Elvis Tolentino and consultant Loreto “Ato” Tolentino.