ATENEO and University of Santo Tomas clash for the solo lead in the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.
Both with 3-1 win-loss records, Ateneo and UST go into the 4 p.m. game coming off contrastin results - a 77-72 victory by the blue Eagles over University of the East and the Growling Tigers' 54-55 loss to National University.
Ateneo's three-game win streak has lifted the confidence of coach Bo Perasol, who believes his team has regained its bearings after starting the season with a loss to Far Eastern University.
“Whatever it is that we can do, we are trying to push it right now. I believe we can still do better. We feel confident right now and that’s important for us,” said Perasol.
For his part, UST coach Bong Dela Cruz said the loss to NU should also serve as a learning experience for the Tigers.
“Dito kami mag-go-grow,” Dela Cruz said. “Titignan natin kung gaano katibay ‘yung team at paano kami makaka-bounce back.”
University of the Philippines and National University collide in the 2 p.m. first game.
After their best start to a season in decades, the Maroons (2-2) fell to their second straight loss at the hands of Far Eastern University, 58-75, last week.
In contrast, reigning champion NU has regained its form after a 0-3 start, winning two straight games including the recent 75-54 trouncing of Adamson.
Interestingly, NU coach Eric Altamirano said he sees a lot of his team in UP.
“I think ‘yung defense nila has improved a lot. I see a lot of us in them. They are fundamentally sound, very disciplined, and they have the materials this year,” said Altamirano.