Ateneo de Manila University aims to remain unbeaten as it battles the skidding Adamson University today in Season 82 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
The leading Blue Eagles tangle with the No. 6 Soaring Falcons at 4 p.m., after Far Eastern University (FEU) and University of Sto. Tomas (UST) try to keep their feet at No. 3 against cellar-dweller National University (NU) at 10:30 a.m. and University of the East (UE) at 12:30 p.m., respectively.
Two-time champion Ateneo notched its eighth straight win after beating University of Sto. Tomas, 66-52, in a highly-physical game last Saturday.
With defense as their bread and butter, veteran head coach Tab Baldwin wants his Eagles to solidify it even more.
“Our defense continues to be something difficult for our opposition. But we need to understand that there are more ways to attack our defense,” said Baldwin.
Thirdy Ravena, Matt Nieto and Ivorian center Ange Kouame will lead the Ateneo side that is eager to keep an immaculate slate.
But Adamson (3-5) is raring to snap a three-game losing skid capped by a 74-80 defeat to UE last Saturday.
Congolese center Lenda Douanga and mainstays Jerom Lastimosa, Jerrick Ahanmisi and Simon Camacho will carry the fight for the Franz Pumaren-mentored Adamson.
Meanwhile, FEU (4-4) goes for a third win in a row against NU (1-7) while UST (4-4) seeks to end a two-game slide versus UE (3-5) to stay on the third spot.
The Tamaraws and the Growling Tigers are currently on a three-way tie with De La Salle University.
FEU is riding the momentum of its gutsy 82-70 overtime victory over University of the Philippines last Sunday.
“What we have now is a team that embodies the “Be Brave” spirit of FEU. We really fight until the end,” said the Tamaraws’ coach Olsen Racela, who will lean on Ken Tuffin, Wendell Comboy and L-Jay Gonzales.
For UST, returning to the winning track will be a tough task versus the UE squad that is coming off a win over Adamson.