Co-leaders Far Eastern University (FEU) and University of Santo Tomas (UST) will solidify their hold of the top spot when they face separate foes today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
FEU will be battling defending champion National University (NU) at 4 p.m. after the curtain raiser 2 p.m. game of UST and University of the East.
The Tamaraws and the Growling Tigers are sharing the No. 1 position with identical 5-1 marks followed by Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University at No. 3 with the same 4-3 records.
The Bulldogs are in fifth place with 3-3 while the Red Warriors are in sixth (2-4), University of the Philippines in seventh (2-5) and Adamson University in eighth (1-6).
FEU is on a roll with four straight victories including its 64-60 come-from-behind win over Adamson last week.
“Our last three games were really hard. We’re still inconsistent but we treat every game as a learning experience, as an opportunity to improve,” said Tamaraws head coach Nash Racela. “And playing NU is another tough test for us. We need to prepare hard.”
Racela will be relying on veterans Mark Belo and Mike Tolomia as well as Raymar Jose, Alejandrino Inigo, Roger Pogoy and Russel Escoto.
Belo had 10 points and 10 rebounds against the Soaring Falcons with Tolomia and Escoto contributing a combined 21-point output.
The Bulldogs, on the other hand, have already found the right formula to keep their title-retention bid alive.
After a 0-3 slow start, the Bulldogs scored three straight victories against UST (55-54), Adamson (75-54) and UP (68-52) and proved that they are still a force to reckon with this season.
Joshua Alolino and Alfred Aroga re expected to carry the Bulldogs along with Nico Javelona, Al Salim, Kyle Neypes and Rodolfo Alejandro.
Alolino averaged 14.33 points and 3.50 assists per game while Aroga had 12.50 rebounds and 1.17 blocks in six games.