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UAAP 79: Archers, Eagles collide

Games Today (Mall of Asia Arena)
12 noon – Adamson vs UE
4 p.m. – La Salle vs Ateneo

DLSU's Ben Mbala drives against UST's Regie Basibas during the UAAP Season 79 game at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday. (JOHN JEROME GANZON)

Ben Mbala (mb.com.ph)

Plans for a public demonstration in one of the biggest games of the season has been met with mixed reaction, overshadowing La Salle’s bid for a first round sweep against archrival Ateneo today in the UAAP basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Officials of both schools issued memorandums on Friday, urging fans to wear black instead of the usual green or blue colors in protest over the huge number of Extrajudicial Killings since President Duterte took office in late-June.

While many have supported the move, others have expressed their desire to wear their school colors in the 4 p.m. match.

It is not the first time that La Salle and Ateneo pulled off such move. In 2009, the Araneta Coliseum became a sea of yellow in memory of former President Corazon Aquino, who passed away a week after the match.

Almost forgotten in the planned demonstration is the absence of La Salle coach Aldin Ayo, who will serve a one-game suspension for attempting to place a pair of eyeglasses at a referee in protest over a non-call in Wednesday’s 84-78 win over University of the East.

UAAP Commissioner Rebo Saguisag yesterday turned down a last-minute appeal by La Salle to overturn the decision, thus prolonging Ayo’s first match against the school’s bitter foe.

La Salle is reportedly going to miss star forward Jeron Teng to an injury, although it is expected that the talent-laden team could fill the void.

Ateneo won its last two games for a 4-2 record, and coach Sandy Arespacochaga called the game as his team’s biggest test.

The Blue Eagles are hoping for big games from Thirdy Ravena and Anton Asistio, who have been the top performers in the team’s recent victories. (Jonas Terrado)