Ateneo goes for its third victory in four games against Adamson at 4 p.m. today in the UAAP men’s tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Sandy Arespacochaga, who is steering the Blue Eagles along with national coach Tab Baldwin, said his young crew will improve more as the season progresses.
Behind returning swingman Thirdy Ravena and Anton Asistio, Ateneo turned back defending champion Far Eastern University, 76-71, last Wednesday to keep La Salle (3-0) and National University (2-0) within striking distance.
“We are trying to improve defensively. We want also to be consistent. We are happy with our 2-1 record but we can’t celebrate too long,” said Arespacochaga.
With Aaron Black a doubtful starter due to a left foot injury, the Eagles are bracing for a vastly-improved Falcons side raring to rebound from last Sunday’s 65-75 loss to the Tamaraws.
Adamson’s crack guards Maverick Ahanmisi and Rob Manalang, who were successfully neutralized by the tough FEU defense, need to produce the needed numbers especially in crucial stretches.
Of course, the Falcons will thrive again on the well-documented Franz Pumaren press, a system Arespacochaga is very much familiar with when his team plays against the Green Archers in the past.
University of Santo Tomas and University of the Philippines, both coming off one-sided losses to La Salle, clash in the curtain raiser at 2 p.m.
The Growling Tigers hope shrug off their worst loss in 10 years, a sound 62-100 beating from the hands of the Archers last Sunday to drop in a tie with the Tamaraws at 1-2 in fifth place.
UST will miss the services of forward Embons Bonleon, who is ruled out of the season after aggravating his left wrist injury, leaving Renzo Subido and Jamil Sheriff to carry the fight for the season hosts.
Louie Vigil and Kent Lao, the Tigers’ leaders this season, need to show up their game if they want to survive the Fighting Maroons.