Ateneo De Manila University will be gunning for a back-to-back victory when it battles Adamson University today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at Araneta Coliseum.
The Blue Eagles with a 2-1 win-loss record, will face the Falcons in the 4 p.m. game after the 2 p.m. match between the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons and the host University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers.
Ateneo coach Sandy Arespacochaga warns his players not to take the Falcons lightly.
“Definitely, they (Adamson) are not like last year. They are very dangerous now,” Arespacochaga told The Manila Times. “They have good coaches, headed by veteran Franz Pumaren, and good players who can shoot outside as well as big men like Papi Sarr who can dominate inside.”
After losing to National University (NU) 60-70 last Sunday, Ateneo bounced back with a 76-71 win over defending champion Far Eastern University on Wednesday behind the impressive performance of Thirdy Ravena and Mike Nieto.
“We’re a young team and the downside of a young team is being inconsistent sometimes. It is a roller coaster ride. But I believe the players will give their best especially on our defense. We must do whatever it takes to stop Adamson,” he added.
Another challenge for the Blue Eagles is the absence of Aaron Black because of a foot injury. Besides Ravena and Nieto, the Blue Eagles will be relying on John Wong, Jose Mendoza and center Chibueze Ikeh in their fight against the Falcons.
Adamson, under the tutelage of Franz Pumaren, will rely on 6’8 Papi Sarr, Jerrick Ahanmisi, Dawn Ochea, Frederick Tungcab, playmaker Robbie Manalang and Lee Mustre as they take on the Blue Eagles.
Meanwhile, UST is keen to get back on track after suffering a humiliating 62-100 defeat to De La Salle University when it takes on the still winless UP. The Growling Tigers and the Tamaraws are carrying identical 1-2 win-loss records.
Henri Subido, Jon Sheriff and Louie Vigil are expected to lead the Growling Tigers’ charge against the Fighting Maroons.
UP, still winless in two games, will depend on Henry Asilum, Kyles Lao, Dave Moralde, Diego Dario, Andres Desiderio and Jett Manuel when it faces UST.
JOSEF T. RAMOS