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Eagles stake clean slate vs Tams

  • Written by Theodore Jurado
  • Published in Basketball
  • Read: 195

Games today:

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

2 p.m. -- AdU vs. DLSU (M)

4 p.m. -- FEU vs. Ateneo (M)

ANOTHER gameday and it is business as usual for undefeated Ateneo.

Focusing on what lies on the table, the Blue Eagles eye the first Final Four berth without much
fanfare against Far Eastern University at 4 p.m. today in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the
Smart Araneta Coliseum.
    
Defending champion La Salle and Adamson collide in a key match-up that could be the turning
point in the race for the second twice-to-beat slot in the semis at 2 p.m.
    
Enjoying its finest start since opening the 2013 season with 13 straight wins, Ateneo showed
tremendous bench depth that keep teams guessing.
    
Thirdy Ravena may have been the most consistent this season, but what makes the Eagles so
dangerous that there’s a different player who is stepping up in each contest.
    
In Ateneo’s 85-72 win over National University last Sunday, it was Gian Mamuyac’s turn to
shine, especially on the defensive end in limiting Jjay Alejandro in the second half.
    
“I think coach Tab Baldwin mentioned in practice already that we have to look forward to the
next game. The games that we’ve have, kumbaga amin na iyon. We had nine games already,” said Eagles
assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga.
    
“What we don’t have is our next game. That next win. So that is our next emphasis. We don’t
want to dwell on the games that we already had. What we like to look at is what we don’t have yet.
That’s the next game and the next win,” he added.
    
The Tamaraws, whom Arespacochaga considered as fast and athletic team, are still looking for
consistency in the game, which what coach Olsen Racela wanted to happen if they wanted to contend for a
spot in the Final Four.
    
At 5-4, FEU is holding a one-game cushion of fifth-running University of the Philippines (4-5).
    
With a 7-2 card, the Green Archers are clinging to a one-game lead over the Falcons in the
chase for the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.
    
Adamson hopes to avenge its 73-85 loss to La Salle and avoid falling behind in the hunt for the
coveted semifinals incentive.
    
“It’s one thing that we really had to hurdle. It’s part of the UAAP that we have to play them
two games in a season, during the eliminations. And it is important for us, for the rankings,” said
Falcons mentor Franz Pumaren.
    
“I’ll be a hypocrite if I tell you that we are not aiming for the top two. Of course, that’s
our main goal, to make it to the top two. It is an important game for us,” he added.