(Mall of Asia Arena)
2 p.m. – UST vs UE
4 p.m. – Ateneo vs UP
After a first round performance its renowned consultant described as “satisfactory”, Ateneo seeks a promising start to the second round as it plays University of the Philippines today in the UAAP basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Eagles are eyeing a repeat of their 79-64 victory over the Maroons last Sept. 28 and use the season’s second “Battle of Katipunan” clash set at 4 p.m. as a stepping stone to boost their bid for a Final Four berth.
Ateneo is in a three-way tie for third place with Adamson and National University at 4-3. And with the two teams facing tough opponents tomorrow, the Blue Eagles would like to emerge victorious to gain an inside track at the semis.
But more than that, the Blue Eagles are aching to bounce back from Sunday’s 89-71 loss to the La Salle Green Archers were they struggled matching up with their superior archrival and even fell behind by 27 points in the fourth quarter.
“I’m actually pretty satisfied that we are 4-3 right now,” Ateneo consultant Tab Baldwin said. “I didn’t really start the season thinking that we will be 2-5 or 6-1. I kind of said that let’s take it game-by-game.
“It’s just disappointing that we did not play better (against La Salle),” he added. “After the first six games, I thought that we will have a better showing. I give a lot of credit to La Salle. I thought they looked a lot of better than we’ve seen them look in the past games.”
Consistency is what Baldwin and designated Blue Eagles coach Sandy Arespacochaga are hoping to see, particularly on offense.
It appears that Thirdy Ravena and Anton Asistio have made conscious efforts to become the team’s main scorers. Ravena led the team in scoring at midseason at 11.3 while Asistio 10.7 points per contest.
UP is tied for the league’s worst record with University of the East at 1-6, but the Maroons have shown that they can give teams a run for their money. A strong finishing kick, however, is what coach Bo Perasol would like to see.
The second round formally starts with the 2 p.m. clash between University of Santo Tomas and UE.
UST is in sixth place at 2-5 after dropping three straight matches while UE is coming off a morale-boosting 64-57 victory over Adamson last Sunday, ending a 0-6 start.