Growling Tigers target first F4 slot

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University of Santo Tomas (UST) will be gunning for the first Final Four slot when it tackles Ateneo de Manila University today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.

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The Growling Tigers battle the Blue Eagles at 4 p.m. while defending champion National University will be eyeing for important win against Adamson University at 2 p.m. to keep its Final Four bid alive.

UST and Far Eastern University are sharing the lead with 8-1 each. They are just a win away of earning their respective spots in the semifinals.

Ateneo and De La Salle University, on the other hand, still holding the third and fourth with the same 5-4 cards while NU, University of the Philippines and University are tied for fifth with 3-6 apiece. Adamson is at the bottom of the standings with 1-8.

The Growling Tigers are fresh from 65-57 victory over the Bulldogs with Kevin Ferrer and Cameroonian Karim Abdul scoring 13 each and Ed Daquioag adding 10.

“We want to take it one game at a time. We need to improve every game. We need to keep improving. It’s [season]not yet over,” said Growling Tigers mentor Bong Dela Cruz.

The Blue Eagles, bannered by reigning Most Valuable Player Kiefer Ravena, are aiming to bounce back from their 58-68 first-round loss against the Growling Tigers.

Ravena remains the top gunner of Ateneo, averaging 18.11 points, 5.44 assists and 1.67 steals per game with fellow veterans Von Pessuman and Gwyne Capacio expecting to provide the needed support along with the 6-foot-9 Nigerian Chibuze Ikeh, who notched 10.44 rebounds and 1.33 block.

Meanwhile, Ateneo’s John Apacible has been suspended over his drunk driving incident that happened on Sunday night in Quezon City. The sophomore player was identified in a viral video showing a young man ranting while showing a special plate “Councilor.”

Apacible admitted his mistakes and has already apologized to the team, the coaching staff and the school management.

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