(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
2 p.m. -- UE vs. FEU (M)
4 p.m. -- UP vs. Ateneo (M)
ATENEO and University of the Philippines dispute the early lead today in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Facing a team he coached for three seasons before jumping to the other side of Katipunan, Bo Perasol hopes that his familiarity with the Blue Eagles will come into handy for the Fighting Maroons in the 4 p.m. main game.
“They are so formidable. I really thought that La Salle will really be the one way ahead of the pack,” said Perasol. “But when I saw Ateneo play (last Saturday against Adamson), I think they are going head-to-head, Ateneo and La Salle.”
The Eagles, last season’s surprise second placer, made an early statement with a masterful 85-65 victory over the Falcons, who are one of the pre-tournament favorites.
UP will definitely be in trouble if Nigerian slotman Chibueze Ikeh, who came through with a double-double effort of 18 points and 17 rebounds against Adamson, will produce huge numbers once more for Ateneo.
“I actually texted him (Ikeh) that I was really proud of him. Not just him, the rookie guys when I was there. They really improved and matured,” said Perasol.
Young and untested last year, the Eagles proved their capabilities to contend against the mighty Green Archers, with Thirdy Ravena, Jolo Mendoza and Anton Asistio also giving major contributions in the opener.
The Maroons, who won five games last season, are oozing with confidence right now.
For Paul Desiderio, who drained the game-winning triple in UP’s 74-73 win over University of Santo Tomas last Sunday, believes that his team can match up well.
“Malay mo may off sila. I hope i-grab namin ang opportunity na iyon,” said Desiderio.
Far Eastern University and University of the East try to enter the win column in the curtain raiser at 2 p.m.
The Tamaraws failed to give coach Olsen Racela a winning debut, absorbing a 90-95 defeat to Ben Mbala-less La Salle last Sunday.
For the Red Warriors, who have missed the Final Four for the last seven years, dark clouds are looming in the horizon after opening the campaign with a 69-86 drubbing from the hands of National University.
Meanwhile, NU opened its three-peat bid in the boys division with a 26-24, 25-14, 25-23 victory over University of the East over the weekend in the UAAP high school volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Far Eastern University-Diliman made an early reversal as it bested last season’s runner-up University of Santo Tomas, 25-20, 10-25, 25-23, 25-21.
In other boys matches, Adamson outlasted Ateneo, 25-16, 21-25, 25-21, 22-25, 15-10, while La Salle-Zobel swept UP Integrated School, 25-11, 25-15, 25-19.
Action resumes today with a boys’ doubleheader starting at 12 noon at the same San Juan venue.