Pacesetting Far Eastern University (FEU) eyes for solo lead when it takes on University of the Philippines (UP) today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Tamaraws-Fighting Maroons match is at 4 p.m. while De La Salle University faces University of the East (UE) at 2 p.m.
FEU currently shares the top spot with idle University of Santo Tomas (UST) with 7-1 each while La Salle and Ateneo De Manila University at tied for third with identical 4-4.
Defending champion National University, UE and UP are in fifth with 3-5 apiece and Adamson University at the bottom of standings with 1-7.
The Tamaraws are riding on a six-game winning streak including their 66-61 victory over the Blue Eagles the last time out with Southeast Asian Games veteran Mark Belo leading the charge with 12 points.
FEU head coach Nash Racela, however, remains unsatisfied.
“We need to improve our game especially on our defense. We struggled defensively [in our last game],” said Racela, who will also rely on Russel Escoto, Roger Pogoy, Mike Tolomia and Alejandrino Inigo as the Tamaraws aim to duplicate their 75-58 demolition of the Fighting Maroons in the first round.
UP, on the other hand, snapped its five-game losing skid by trouncing Adamson, 89-84.
Four Fighting Maroons finished in double-digits led by Henry Asilum, who delivered 19 markers, and Jett Manuel, who had 16. Diego Dario connected 14 points and Agustin Amar added 13.
“We live and die with our defense. That’s our game plan, more on defense. FEU is a strong team but we’ll go out and fight,” said UP mentor Rensy Bajar.
Meanwhile, UST’s Ed Daquioag was named Player of the Week as he averaged 25.5 points in their last two games. He scored 34 points against UE and 17 points against La Salle.