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Birds of prey meet

Games Today
(Smart Araneta)
2 p.m. – UP vs UST
4 p.m. – Ateneo vs Adamson

Blue Eagles, Falcons clash; UP vs UST.

Young teams Ateneo and Adamson hope to start playing like grown men today as they face off in the featured game of the UAAP basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Their match is set at 4 p.m. with the Blue Eagles eyeing their second straight win after defeating the defending champion Far Eastern University Tamaraws and the Falcons looking to bounce back from losing to the same opponent.

Serving as an appetizer is the 2 p.m. clash between University of Santo Tomas and winless University of the Philippines.

UST tries to bounce back after suffering a 38-point loss to La Salle while eyeing a 19th straight victory over UP, a streak that began after the Tigers fell to the Maroons in the second round of their Cinderella title run in 2006.

UP is out to end that run, and more importantly barge into the win column after dropping its first two games by double digits to Adamson and La Salle.

Ateneo scored a big victory last Wednesday when it overcame FEU, 76-71, at the Mall of Asia Arena. Thirdy Ravena, Adrian Wong and Jolo Mendoza reached double figures while brothers Matt and Mike Nieto and Anton Asistio were also instrumental on both ends.

But Ateneo coach Sandy Ares-pacochaga said the team must step up or else fell victim to its inconsistent ways.

“We’re a young team and we still have a lot of things to improve,” said Arespacochaga. “It’s good that we have a 2-1 record, and we’re happy with that record. But we can’t celebrate because we got a tough game against Adamson.”

Adamson succumbed to FEU, 75-65, last Sunday after failing to follow up its stirring 104-85 rout of UP nearly two weeks earlier.

Falcons coach Franz Pumaren rued his squad’s performance in that defeat while urging them to get away with their immature ways.

“We have to start maturing fast,” said Pumaren. “We’re a very young team and we have to start stepping up. We made some bad decisions (against FEU), we did some ridiculous plays that we weren’t supposed to be running.”

Rookie Maverick Ahanmisi, who had 16 points against FEU after torching UP for 28, leads Adamson’s charge alongside Rob Manalang, Sean Manganti, Papi Sarr and Dawn Ochea. (Jonas Terrado)