OTHER than the perceived firepower of its long-time rival, Ateneo has one more major concern going to its second annual `Dream Game’ showdown against La Salle Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Well, I don’t know what shape or condition our players are in,” admitted Sandy Arespacochaga, who will be calling the shots for the Blue Eagles in the 6:30 p.m. showcase dubbed `Blue vs. Green’ and features alumni of the two prominent schools now playing in the PBA.
Already without three key players from last year’s roster in LA Tenorio, Larry Fonacier, and Japeth Aguilar, the Katipunan-based squad and reigning UAAP men’s champion just had the benefit of practicing together as one only last Saturday.
But true to the fighting spirit of the school, Arespacochaga believes the Eagles will give the powerhouse Green Archers side a run for their money, especially with the addition of rookies Chris Tiu and Eman Monfort to their roster.
“We will certainly enjoy the game, enjoy playing with one another in one team again, and give our best,” said the long-time deputy of former Ateneo and five-time champion coach Norman Black.
The Eagles will again lean on a lineup built around Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Noy Baclao, Eric Salamat, JC Intal, Doug Kramer, Enrico Villanueva, Wesley Gonzales, Rich Alvarez, Paolo Bugia, and Magnum Membrere.
In contrast La Salle coach Franz Pumaren is keeping his cards close to his chest, well aware he had an explosive bunch of talent right in his disposal.
Other than guard JV Casio being doubtful for the game, everyone else in the Archers roster appear ready to go and duplicate their 117-104 win over the Blue Eagles in last year’s staging of the exhibition match at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Don Allado, hero for La Salle last season is again spearheading the team that only has rookie Simon Atkins as its newest addition.
Suiting up for La Salle once more are high-scoring guards Joseph Yeo, MacMac Cardona, Mike Cortez, and RenRen Ritualo along with Rico Maierhofer, Ryan Arana, Carlo Sharma, Willy Wilson, and TY Tang.