ADAMSON seeks to solidify its hold of the top spot as it tangles with dangerous University of Santo Tomas, while defending champion Ateneo shoots for its second straight win against National University today in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Pitted against Aldin Ayo’s “mayhem” system that the Growling Tigers fully embraced, coach Franz Pumaren’s patented pressure defense will be fully tested and the Falcons are bracing for a tough battle in the 2 p.m. match.
“I think, right now, they (UST) are pretty confident after beating FEU,” said Pumaren. “It’s a testament that any given moment, any given game, anybody can beat a particular team. We practice hard for situations like this,” said Pumaren.
Adamson became the only undefeated team and the unlikely early leaders after trampling University of the East, 90-76, last Wednesday.
Fully recovered from the shock season-opening loss to the Falcons that immediately shattered the myth of the Blue Eagles’ invincibility after a superb off-season, coach Tab Baldwin is looking forward for his troops to elevate their game in the 4 p.m. clash with the Bulldogs.
“We’re gonna get pressure from everybody. I think that’s the next challenge for this team — no matter what the conditions are and no matter who we play, to turn our practice effort into game performance,” said Baldwin.
Ateneo evened its record to 1-1 after an 87-79 conquest of University of the Philippines last week.
The Falcons’ impressive performance was mainly due to the efforts of their leaders Jerrick Ahanmisi and Sean Manganti, while Papi Sarr was doing his usual dirty work in the shaded lane.
Ayo earned his first victory in his new home after the Tigers stunned the Tamaraws, 76-74, last week.
With that, UST did not took so long in entering the win column, unlike last season where it came on its final elimination round assignment - as Ayo is determined to bring back the school’s once-storied program to relevancy.
Baldwin knows that every Eagles’ foe will not back them down despite their lofty tournament billing.