UNDEFEATED University of the Philippines (UP) and Adamson University aim to firm up grip on Pool A leadership when they go separate ways against gritty counterparts in the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

At 3-0, the Fighting Maroons aim to widen their gap from the Group A pack against College of St. Benilde (CSB) (1-1) at 5 p.m., while the Soaring Falcons (2-0) seek to stay within striking distance versus University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (1-1) at 3 p.m.

Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU), meanwhile, shoots for a solo lead in Group B against Santo Tomas (1-0) at 9 a.m. followed by the clash of winless University of the East (UE) (0-3) and Arellano University (0-3) at 11 a.m.

In the middle of the loaded five-game schedule is San Beda’s bid to hand newly-minted mentor Yuri Escueta his first coaching debut against Far Eastern University (FEU) (1-2) at 1 p.m.

The spotlight, however, is on reigning University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) champion UP that has stamped its class in the 17-team preseason tilt with an unblemished campaign so far against Mapua, Perpetual Help and UE.

Led by Gilas Pilipinas stalwart Carl Tamayo, the Fighting Maroons took care of their first three assignments by an average winning margin of 19.3 points for a rousing start in their UAAP title defense buildup. — John Bryan Ulanday