Last year’s runner-up University of Santo Tomas (UST) eyes to strengthen its hold of the second place when it collides against defending champion Ateneo de Manila University on Saturday in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 76 men’s basketball at the Araneta Coliseum.

Game time is set at 4 p.m.

After winning over University of the Philippines (UP) on Wednesday, the UST Growling Tigers (4-2) are expected to come out strong offensively and defensively against the reigning champion Blue Eagles to achieve their fifth victory.

“We will be ready against Ateneo. This team is hungry and cannot be taken for granted. I’m hoping all my players will contribute,” said UST head coach Pido Jarencio.

UST will be relying heavily on forward Aljon Mariano, Cameroonian center Karim Abdul, Clark Bautista, Kevin Ferrer and Ed Daquioag while injured Jeric Teng remains a doubtful starter.

The six-peat seeking Blue Eagles, who currently hold a 2-4 win-loss slate, are aiming to sustain their momentum. They won against UP on Sunday. Ateneo mentor will bank on Ryan Buenafe, rookie Chris Newsome and Kiefer Ravena.

Before the UST-Ateneo game, University of the East (UE) seeks for its fourth win when it tangles against winless UP in the first game at 2 p.m.

The Red Warriors are tied with Adamson University, National University and De La Salle University 3-3 each.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Chito Loyzaga has suspended referee Francisco Olivar Jr. for three game days for his controversial unsportsmanlike foul against Adamson’s Gian Abrigo with few seconds remaining that gave huge advantage to La Salle to win the game.

The foul called away from the ball was untimely since Abrigo and Nelbert Torres were jockeying for position during inbound play.

The UAAP commissioner has apologized to Adamson regarding the incident.

But a letter from Adamson Falcons signed by Coach Leo Austria and either UAAP President Fr. Maximino Rendon or Ma. Luisa Isip, is not satisfied with the decision of UAAP commissioner to just suspend the referee.

Adamson wants referee Olivar Jr. to be banned from the rest of the season and a rematch between Adamson and La Salle.


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