(Mall of Asia Arena)
2 p.m. – UP vs UE
4 p.m. – NU vs Adamson
Adamson and National University, coming off contrasting results over the weekend, look to catch up with unbeaten La Salle as they clash today in the UAAP basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Falcons and the Bulldogs square off at 4 p.m. with the winner gaining sole possesion of second place at 3-1 while staying within striking distance of the Green Archers, who are perfect after four matches.
Both teams took part in an eventful weekend that saw Adamson beating Ateneo in dramatic fashion and NU losing to La Salle by squandering a nine-point third quarter lead.
Adamson beat Ateneo, 62-61, on a last-second jumper by Dawn Ochea to boost its bid for a first Final Four berth since 2011.
But Adamson will have to hurdle NU followed by a tussle with La Salle on Saturday, prompting first year coach Franz Pumaren to poke fun at his team’s difficult stretch.
“It’s gonna be a tough sked for us. Actually walang kwenta ang sked namin, magaan na magaan,” Pumaren joked after beating Ateneo last Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Turning serious, Pumaren is urging his team to capitalize on the thrilling victory behind rookie Jerrick Ahanmisi, Rob Manalang, who had 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, and Cameroonian center Papi Sarr.
NU suffered its first loss of the season last Sunday, bowing 75-66 to La Salle at the Big Dome despite a 52-43 lead in the third.
Bulldogs coach Eric Altamirano said his players veered away from the things that made them build such lead against the Green Archers, which he hopes would be corrected this time.
“Obviously, the fourth quarter did us in,” said Altamirano. “For some reason, they were tentative, nawala yung aggressiveness nila and that created a lot of turnovers and dun nakakuha ng momentum ang La Salle.”
Matt Salem is coming off a 15-point, nine-rebound performance against La Salle, but NU will have to need to get more consistency from J-Jay Alejandro, Rev Diputado and Alfred Aroga after struggling down the stretch.
NU is expected to once again use center Matthew Aquino after team officials gave him the green light to play despite being declared ineligible by the UAAP. The Bulldogs reportedly were granted a TRO by a Pasig City court, thus allowing the son of PBA legend Marlou Aquino to suit up.
Meanwhile, University of the East and University of the Philippines eye their first win in the curtain raiser set at 2 p.m.
The two squads lost their first three games, some of which came after losing steam in the fourth quarter.