A MONTH after, Ateneo and University of Santo Tomas are at it again.
The two proud schools find themselves on a collision course again as they clash on Tuesday in Game One of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League at The Arena in San Juan.
Game time is at 4 p.m., marking the first time the Blue Eagles and Tigers battle for a championship since Ateneo completed a two-game sweep of Santo Tomas in a highly emotional UAAP men’s basketball Finals last October.
Pido Jarencio, the UST mentor, will no longer have to deal with Norman Black on the Ateneo side after engaging the champion coach in an animated word war during the course of the UAAP title series.
But nonetheless, he declared himself and the Tigers ready for the match-up.
“Handa ako kahit sino ang kalaban,” said Jarencio, whose Tigers beat the Eagles, 76-66, in their Final Four encounter last week.
“Handa ako, ang players ko, ang buong team.”
Big man Karim Abdul and forward Kevin Ferrer, who missed the Tigers’ last game against Southwestern University Cobras due to knee and back injuries, respectively, will suit up in the opener.
Gabby Severino, who handles the Eagles in an interim basis, said Abdul and hotshot guard Aljon Mariano are the two major concerns of the team.
“What we aspire is to bring out everybody’s defense,” he said. “We’ll do the best we can and do some adjustments on Abdul and Mariano.”
An interesting sidelight during the match is the likely presence of newly-named Ateneo coach Bo Perasol.
Meanwhile, reigning Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. champion Southwestern University takes on San Beda in the battle for third place at 2 p.m.
The Cobras lost by a hairline against the three-time NCAA champions in the Final Four, 73-72, after point guard Joseph Nalos failed to put up a shot at the final buzzer.
Another focus of attention will be SWU’s Cameroonian import Ben Mbala, who exploded for 41 points in the Cobras’ 93-91 overtime win over UST on Sunday.