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La Salle tests NU; UST takes on AdU

By Jerome Lagunzad

Games Today
(Smart-Araneta Coliseum)
2 p.m. – La Salle vs NU
4 p.m. – Adamson vs UST

Sweet and bitter memories of the past are set to be rekindled by Aldin Ayo and Jamike Jarin as they renew their coaching rivalry, with the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament serving as their new battleground.

Both coaches are expected to hog the limelight today when defending champion La Salle takes on a talented National University side in what promises to be an explosive showdown for a piece of the early lead at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Game is set at 2 p.m., with the Green Archers eager to pick up from where they left off following a 95-90 victory over Far Eastern University and the Bulldogs raring to do the same after scoring an 86-69 win over University of the East over the weekend.

All eyes, however, will be focused on the sidelines as Ayo looks to reassert his mastery over Jarin after leading his alma mater Letran to a stunning conquest of archrival San Beda two years ago in one of the most entertaining NCAA finals series in recent memory.

But Ayo isn’t eager to further build up the hype, saying: “Am I excited? Hindi naman. It’s just a regular game.”

In contrast, Jarin tried his best to up the ante – and add pressure to a Green Archers side which could only get stronger with the impending return of reigning league MVP Ben Mbala.

“We just need to ready ourselves for DLSU,” he said, practically urging the Bulldogs to embrace the underdogs’ tag. “Of course, they’re the defending champions. They’re a force to be reckoned with and probably the best collegiate team right now.”

Clashing in the main offering at 4 o’clock are Adamson and University of Santo Tomas, both determined to finally get their respective title bids going.

The Soaring Falcons, humbled by the fast-staring Ateneo Blue Eagles 85-65 the last time out, get a much needed shot in the arm with the return of solid Cameroon import Papi Sarr who has recovered from a groin injury.

Standing in the way of the 6-foot-6 Sarr is his compatriot, 6-foot-8 Steve Akomo, who is tipped to provide the Growling Tigers the needed strength down low as they try to recover from a stinging one-point loss dealt by University of the Philippines six days ago.