Four teams will be gunning for early lead as the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 78 men’s basketball tournament resumes today at the Araneta Coliseum.
De La Salle University battles University of the Philippines (UP) at 2 p.m. while powerhouse Far Eastern University faces University of Santo Tomas at 4 p.m.
La Salle, UP, FEU and UST are in a four-way tie on top of the standings after winning their respective opening games.
The Green Archers made an early statement by shocking defending champion National University last Sunday, 67-63, with Jeron Teng and Jason Perkins leading the charge. Teng had 18 points, and Perkins delivered 13 and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Rookie Andrei Caracut also debuted with a bang, scoring 13 markers, two boards, three assists and a steal while sophomore Paolo Rivero contributed 11.
“It [first win]doesn’t prove anything yet. We just need to have fun every game and we’re gonna continue to learn every game. We still have a lot to improve on,” said Teng.
UP is also in high morale after its 62-55 opening game win over University of the East (UE).
“Lagi ko lang sinasabi sa kanila na they must believe that they can win. Same thing ang gagawin namin [against La Salle]. We will be a defensive team pa rin. Yun ‘yung battlecry namin—defense and at the same time sharing ng bola,” said UP rookie mentor Rensy Bajar.
Twelve players were able to contribute for the Fighting Maroons led by Christopher Vito, who scored 11 along with Christian Moralde (8), Andres Desiderios (7), Jose Manuel (7), Diego Dario (6) and Jerson Prado (6).
On the other hand, FEU sent a strong message following its 88-64 demolition of former champion Ateneo de Manila University.
Holdovers Roger Pogoy, Mike Tolomia and Mac Belo carried the Tamaraws by combining for 68 points. They dished out 17 assists and hauled down 46 rebounds with a 51.35 shooting percentage.
FEU’s focus will be on UST veterans Ed Daquioag and Kevin Ferrer, who steered the Growling Tigers to a 70-64 win over Adamson University.
“UST has a veteran core. Mahirap din kalaban ‘yan,” Racela said.
Daquioag fired 28 points while Ferrer sizzled with 24 on top of eight boards, four assists and a steal.
Meanwhile, UE center Chris Javier was slapped with a one-game suspension after hitting UP’s Jerson Prado with an elbow during their Saturday meeting.
Javier won’t be seeing action when UE takes on NU on Sunday.