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UAAP: FEU tests AdU today

By Jerome Lagunzad

Games Today
(Mall of Asia Arena)
2 p.m. – UST vs UE
4 p.m. – FEU vs Adamson

As former accomplished professional cagers, Franz Pumaren and Olsen Racela have a lot in common.

They have nine pro league titles tucked under their respective belts and hoisted numerous individual awards. Both of them suited up for San Miguel Beer franchise and even donned the country’s tricolors in several international tournaments.

Certainly, they both left an indelible mark as two of the PBA’s premier playmakers of all time.

Ron Dennison of the FEU Tamaraws. (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Ron Dennison of the FEU Tamaraws. (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

And it’s quite an interesting subplot in what promises to be a classic battle from the sidelines when Racela’s Far Eastern University takes on Pumaren’s Adamson in a crucial encounter today in the UAAP Season 80 basketball tourney at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Tied from third to fourth spots with identical 4-2 records, the Tamaraws and the Soaring Falcons will show up in their 4 p.m. tiff with equal momentum after winning their last three matches following an up-and-down start.

All eyes will be on a marque matchup between the teams’ talented bunch of guards, with veterans Ino Comboy, Ron Dennison, and Axel Iñigo leading FEU’s attack against their younger Adamson counterparts Rob Manalang, Jerrick Ahanmisi and Jerie Pingoy.

“It’s a going to be a tough game,” said Racela, who’s been making steady strides since assuming the role from his younger brother Nash. “Si coach Franz naman ang kalaban ko and they’re a well-coached team. Tsaka maganda ang sistema nila. I think it’s a chance again for us to grow as a team.”

While the Tamaraws will come in with fresher legs after scoring a 78-59 victory over University of the Philippines last Sunday, Adamson is hoping fatigue won’t take its toll as the Soaring Falcons play for the third time in a week.

“It’s a brutal week for us,” stressed Pumaren, cautious about his wards’ recovery period. “We’ll be playing a fresh FEU side. Hopefully, our training will keep us afloat against them.”

Squaring off in the opener set at 2 p.m. are University of Santo Tomas and University of the East, both determined to break their barren spell at the close of their respective campaigns in the opening round.

However, much of the focus will be on the main match, with Racela eager to see the Tamaraws make continuous improvement.