Ateneo de Manila University and University of Santo Tomas (UST) will be seeking for win No. 4 when they face each other today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Blue Eagles take on the Growling Tigers at 4 p.m. while defending champion National University battles University of the Philippines (UP) at 2 p.m.
Ateneo and UST are tied in the second spot with 3-1 each behind solo leader Far Eastern University, which holds a 4-1 mark.
De La Salle University and UP occupy the fourth place with 2-2 apiece followed by NU (2-3), University of the East (2-3) and Adamson University (0-5).
Reigning Most Valuable Player Kiefer Ravena will be once again leading the Blue Eagles. The King Eagle averaged 21.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, five assists and two steals in four games including his explosive 21-point showing when Ateneo posted a thrilling 74-70 double overtime win against NU.
“I don’t think we could have won without the heroics of Kiefer twice,” said Ateneo head coach Bo Perasol.
The Blue Eagles actually started the season on a sad note after absorbing a 64-88 loss to FEU. But Ateneo kept its composure and remained optimistic.
“We stayed positive. We know it was too early to be down. We took it as a challenge,” said Ravena, who’s playing his final year with the Blue Eagles.
Expected to back him up are Von Pessumal, Chibueze Ikeh, Alfonzo Gotladera and Matt Nieto. Pessumal scored 21 points in Ateneo’s 77-72 win over UE the last time out.
UST, on the other hand, wants to regain its winning form following their close 54-55 defeat at the hands of NU last week.
The troika of Kevin Ferrer, Karim Abdul and Ed Daquioag will be the main source of strength of the Growling Tigers. Ferrer is the team’s best rebounder with 9.25 average boards per game while Daquioag topped the scoring department with 20.50 average points, and Karim had an average of two blocks per outing. EMIL C. NOGUERA
Games Saturday (MOA Arena)
2 p.m. UP vs NU
4 p.m. Ateneo vs UST