ATENEO is concerned not only about Adamson but also with the new playing venue when the Blue Eagles begin their bid for a fifth straight UAAP men’s basketball championship on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Eagles take on the Falcons at 4 p.m. in their first game at the newly-built facility after arch-rival La Salle begin their own title big against University of the Philippines in the 2 p.m. game.
“I expect it to be a difficult game because it will be the first time we’ll play at MOA,” said Ateneo coach Norman Black. “Obviously, this is a completely different atmosphere than we are used to. It’s a little bit taller than the Araneta Coliseum.”
“We want to get used to the gym as quickly as possible,” Black added.
The Blue Eagles are also wary of the Falcons after they ended Ateneo’s 29-game winning streak against them last season.
“Alex Nuyles and Eric Camson will probably be our major focus in this game. We want to contain them as much as possible,” Black said.
Despite losing the services of veterans Kirk Long, Emman Monfort and Bacon Austria, Ateneo is still expected to play the way they did last season.
“For us, we want to try go out and run, go inside out, and utilize the services of Greg Slaughter,” said Black.
After finally snapping their lengthy losing streak against the Eagles last year, Adamson coach Leo Austria still expects a tough match-up especially after losing key point guards in Lester Alvarez and Jerick Canada.
“Since nag-training sila sa Amerika, nag-pi-pick-up na ‘yung laro nila,” said Austria. “We want to keep our rookies and veterans a lot of time para maka-gain sila ng experience."
The Green Archers gained a big boost in their campaign after recruiting high school phenom Jeron Teng and a runner-up finish in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Hanes Cup.