University of Santo Tomas (UST) will be gunning for its eighth win and a piece of the lead when it faces defending champion National University (NU) today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
UST battles NU at 4 p.m. while Ateneo de Manila University takes on Adamson University at 2 p.m.
UST currently holds the second spot with a 7-1 record behind solo leader Far Eastern University, which has an 8-1 mark. De La Salle University occupies the third spot with 5-4 followed by Ateneo (4-4), NU (3-5), University of the Philippines (3-6), University of the East (3-6) and Adamson (1-7).
Coming off a four-game winning streak, the Growling Tigers are eyeing for revenge against the Bulldogs in their 4 p.m. game. UST lost to NU in the first round via a close 54-55 decision – the only defeat of the Growling Tigers.
“We need to double our effort especially in the second round. The teams are getting stronger in the second round. We need to step up our defense,” said UST head coach Bong Dela Cruz.
Veterans Ed Daquioag, who averaged 19.12 points and 1.25 steal per game, and Kevin Ferrer will be leading the Growling Tigers along with Cameroonian Karim Abdul, Louie Vigil and Sheak Sheriff.
Abdul had a sterling performance when UST defeated La Salle, 81-79, scoring a double-double 18-point, 11-rebound output while Ferrer also shone with his own double-double 15 points and 11 boards.
The Bulldogs, however, want to get back on track after a couple of setbacks—they lost to FEU (59-61) and UE (47-52) in their last two games.
For the Bulldogs to beat the Growling Tigers, Cameroonian Alfred Aroga, Joshua Alolino, Kyle Neypes, Rodolfo Alejandro and Nico Javelona must raise their level of game several notches.