De La Salle University will begin its title-retention bid as it battles Far Eastern University (FEU) when the University Athletic Association Season 77 unfolds on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The La Salle-FEU game is set at 4 p.m. after the University of the East-University of the Philippines match at 2 p.m. An elaborate opening ceremony is scheduled at 12 noon.
La Salle is still intact with holdovers Almond Vosotros, Arnold Van Opstal, Jason Perkins, Norberto Torres, Thomas Torres, Kib Montalbo, Robert Bolick and Season 76 Finals Most Valuable Player Jeron Teng.
Yutien Andrada, who opted to sit out in the last season because of injury, is back in the fold while the four talented rookies Julian Sargent, Abu Tratter, Prince Rivero and Terrence Mustre, are also expected to prove their worth.
“I don’t really focus on expectations. We’re more focused on getting better every game. That’s what’s important,” said La Salle head coach Juno Sauler.
The Tamaraws, on the other hand, will be parading a new team following the exit of prolific playmakers Ryan Roose Garcia and Terrence Romeo, who are now playing in the Philippine Basketball Association.
“It has to be a collective effort to fill in the void left by RR and Terrence. This time, our plays need to involve everyone,” said Tamaraws mentor Nash Racela, who will rely on vastly improved Mark Belo, Chris Tolomia, Roger Pogoy, Anthony Hargrove and Russel Escoto.
The Tamaraws wound up third overall in the last season. They lost to the Green Archers in their Final Four match, 68-71.
On Sunday, Ateneo de Manila University takes on Adamson University at 2 p.m. followed by the tussle between National University and University of Santo Tomas at 4 p.m.