University of Santo Tomas (UST) seeks to keep its grip of the third spot when it locks horns with De La Salle University in Season 82 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Growling Tigers face the Green Archers at 2 p.m., before Adamson University guns for a rebound win against the struggling Far Eastern University (FEU) at 4 p.m. as the four teams close their first-round campaigns.
UST bounced back big at the expense of FEU, 82-74, last Sunday to regain the solo third with a 4-2 record.
The España-based cagers are coming off a much-needed five-day break and head coach Aldin Ayo wants to show another trick up his sleeve when they spring back to action.
“Every day you have to keep on improving and every game you have to bring something new on the table. Otherwise, you’ll be left out,” said Ayo.
Beninese big man Soulamane Chabi Yo will lead the Tigers’ attack anew while rookie forward Sherwin Concepcion, who triggered the pivotal run in the previous win, is expected to supply spark off the bench.
Backcourt partners Renzo Subido and Mark Nonoy as well as forward Rhenz Abando will provide additional firepower for UST.
On the other hand, La Salle will try to erase the stigma of its 71-72 defeat to University of the Philippines last Wednesday.
That stinging loss saw the Archers squander a 13-point lead before taking the dagger triple from the Fighting Maroons’ stalwart Juan Gomez De Liaño.
Veteran guards Andrei Caracut and Aljun Melecio along with Justine Baltazar and recruit Jamie Malonzo will spearhead the Taft-based team’s bounce-back bid.
Meanwhile, Adamson is raring to get back to the winners’ circle after suffering a 61-68 setback at hands of La Salle last week.
FEU, however, is also eager to rebound from a dismal 39-61 defeat to National University that saw the Morayta dribblers score their lowest output since 2003.
Jerrick Ahanmisi, Val Chauca and Congolese center Lenda Dounga will banner the Soaring Falcons while Barkley Eboña, Wendell Comboy and Cameroonian big man Patrick Tchuente will power the Tamaraws’ charge.