(Mall of Asia Arena)
2 p.m. – Adamson vs La Salle
4 p.m. – Ateneo vs UE
The La Salle Green Archers stake their unbeaten record today against the surprising Adamson Falcons and the coach that once led them to some of the school’s memorable UAAP title runs.
And it may be an ironic twist should coach Franz Pumaren and his upstart Falcons deal the Green Archers their first loss of the season as the league’s top two teams collide at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Pumaren steered La Salle to five UAAP championships, including a four-peat in 1998-2001 with a lineup powered by Don Allado and Renren Ritualo.
Incidentally, Allado and Ritualo are part of Pumaren’s coaching staff at Adamson, which already proved itself to be a team on the rise with three wins in first four games that included triumphs over Ateneo and National University.
When asked about facing his alma mater and former team for the first time, Pumaren said it’s going to be weird feeling being on the other side of the fence.
“It’s gonna be weird,” Pumaren said. “I’ll be seeing some old friends but we just have to keep the game close.”
Keeping the game close is Adamson’s modest goal against La Salle, which won its first four games with reckless abandon.
La Salle remained perfect after coming from behind to beat NU, 75-66, last Sunday. Today’s 2 p.m. duel will feature a showdown between Pumaren’s trademark pressure defense and the same system implemented by new Green Archers tactician Aldin Ayo.
“For me, it’s just different,” Pumaren said. “They have all the materials. I think they are the favored team from the start. We’ll see. It’s gonna be a fun game, I hope we can sustain our run, keep the game close.”
“Adamson is also a tough team,” said Ayo. “I mentioned Adamson as one of the top contenders because of coach Franz’s system. He also has the materials, maigi yung programa niya at buo ang sistema so we’re expecting a tough game ahead.”
Expected to be overshadowed is the game between Ateneo and winless University of the East, with the Blue Eagles going for their third victory in five games.