Ateneo de Manila University and University of the Philippines (UP) clash for the solo leadership in University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 80 men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Weather permitting, the Blue Eagles and the Fighting Maroons try to make a follow up to their opening-game victories in their 4 p.m. collision while host Far Eastern University (FEU) and University of the East (UE) go for their first win at 2 p.m.
Ateneo and UP are coming off contrasting wins in the opening weekend with the Loyola-based dribblers dominating the Papi Sarr-less Adamson University, 85-65, while State University eking out a 74-73 escape over University of Santo Tomas on Paul Desiderio’s game-winning triple.
Fighting Maroons head coach Bo Perasol said the Blue Eagles look scary judging the latter’s 20-point shellacking of the Soaring Falcons.
“Ateneo is so formidable. I really thought La Salle will be way ahead of the pack but when I saw Ateneo, I think they will go head to head again,” said Perasol.
The Fighting Maroons needed the late-game heroics of Desiderio to beat the Growling Tigers last Sunday to join opening-game winners Blue Eagles, Green Archers and National University.
Against his former team, Perasol admitted they need more than luck to have a chance of claiming the early lead in the tournament.
Ateneo mentor Sandy Arespacochaga said they were just lucky to face Adamson without its top center, allowing Chiebueze Ikeh to dominate the match.
“We we’re not surprised that Ikeh played a very good game because he has been playing well in the past few weeks,” said Arespacochaga who drew 18 points and 17 rebounds from the 6-foot-9 Nigerian slotman.
Thirdy Ravena also had a solid game for Ateneo with 20 points and 10 boards and he’s expected to lead the squad especially in guarding Desiderio, who was the lone UP player to hit double figures in scoring with 17 against UST.
Meanwhile, the Tamaraws and the Red Warriors search for their first win after dropping their opening games.
FEU dropped a 95-90 decision to defending champion La Salle while UE absorbed a 69-86 defeat to the Bulldogs.