De La Salle University aims to stretch its unbeaten run to 10 games when it battles National University (NU) today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Green Archers, currently No.1 with a 9-0 win-loss record, will face the challenge of the 2014 champions Bulldogs in the second game at 4 p.m. after the 12 noon match between the Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles and the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors.
De La Salle University previously defeated University of the Philippines, 78-72, upon the return of Jeron Teng, who posted 21 points, five rebounds and five assists. The victory, which guaranteed them of the first spot in the Final Four, was also in time for 39th birthday of Green Archers head coach Aldin Ayo on Saturday.
“The more we win, the harder it gets because they are really preparing against us,” Ayo said.
Besides Teng, leading Most Valuable Player candidate Ben Mbala will be leading the Green Archers’ charge together with Ricci Rivero, Prince Rivero, Kim Montalbo, Thomas Torres, Abu Tratter, Jason Perkins and Andrei Caracut.
The NU Bulldogs, coming off a three-game losing streak are hoping to regain their winning form. NU and Adamson University are both carrying 4-5 win-loss records.
“La Salle is a formidable opponent,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano via text message. “We have to play our best game against them. Hopefully, we can minimize our turnovers with their relentless pressure defense.”
The Bulldogs will be relying on Matt Salem, the 6’7 Alfred Aroga, Jess Diputado, Nico Abatayo and guard Jay-Jay Alejandro. They lost 66-75, to the Green Archers during the first round of games on September 18.
Meanwhile, the Blue Eagles are on a hunt for a fifth win when they face the Red Warriors.
Ateneo is coming off a disappointing 52-56 loss to the Fighting Maroons last week. The Blue Eagles are now No.3 with a 4-4 win-loss record.
Ateneo will be banking on Anton Asistio, Mike Nieto and Thirdy Ravena in subduing the Red Warriors.
UE with a 2-6 win-loss record will be relying on Paul Varilla, Clark Derigue and Emil Palma in warding off the Blue Eagles.
UE beat the Growling Tigers, 81-71, on October 8.