Defending champion Far Eastern University (FEU) and National University (NU) are both on a hunt for a fifth win when they collide today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Tamaraws and the 2014 champion Bulldogs will clash in the 4 p.m. game after the Adamson University vs University of Santo Tomas match at 2 p.m.
The Tamaraws, with a 4-2 win-loss record, aim to stretch its winning streak to five to ascend to the second spot.
FEU, under the tutelage of coach Nash Racela, will be relying on Joe Trinidad, Raymar Jose, big man Prince Orizu, Axel Inigo and Monbert Arong in the fortification of its defense.
Meanwhile, NU coach Eric Altamirano said that challenging the defending champion is no easy task.
“We have to be ready for FEU because they have the experience and some players there are part of last year’s championship,” Altamirano told The Manila Times in a phone interview. “We want to end the first round on a high note but that’s not easy.”
The Bulldogs, like the Tamaraws, are also holding a 4-2 win-loss record. NU is coming off a 75-68 win over UST, and an 80-69 victory over University of the Philippines last week. The Bulldogs are also eyeing the No. 2 spot.
“I’m not satisfied with our offense and defense. We need to improve more in some aspects,” Altamirano said.
The Bulldogs will be banking on Cameroonian Alfred Aroga, Jess Dipotado, Mohammad Salim, Jay Jay Alejandro and Matt Salem in taming the Tamaraws.
Meanwhile, the Falcons under coach Franz Pumaren are keen to bounce back from a disappointing loss last Sunday to the University of the East Red Warriors (57-64) when they meet the Growling Tigers.
Jerrick Ahanmissi, Sean Manganti, Robbie Manalang and Cameroonian Papi Sarr will be stepping up for the Falcons. The Growling Tigers, on the other hand, will be leaning on Henri Subido, Jamil Sherrif and Louie Vigil in their game against the Falcons.
Adamson is holding a 3-3 win-loss record while last year’s first runner-up UST carries a 2-4 win-loss record.