ATENEO and University of Santo Tomas are both unhappy with their level of play despite their superior records as they go into crucial match-ups against fellow Final Four contenders in Wednesday’s UAAP seniors basketball action.
The Blue Eagles try to solidify their on hold on top spot as they take on streaking Far Eastern University at 4 p.m. while the Tigers go for second place when they take on La Salle at noon in another blockbuster affair.
The matches are set at Mall of Asia Arena where tickets will be sold separately for the marquee games.
The Blue Eagles are on top of the standings with a 7-1 win-loss record while the Tigers and Tamaraws are in second spot with similar 7-2 marks.
Struggling to find their form, the Blue Eagles could not put away University of the Philippines, playing just well enough to beat the struggling Maroons, 73-66, last Saturday.
Facing a much tougher foe in the Tamaraws, Ateneo coach Norman Black said his team can't play as badly as it did against the Maroons and hope to win.
“Quite honestly, I’m definitely not satisfied with our win against UP,” Black said. “We definitely have to play a lot better if we want to win.”
“If we play like that against FEU, we are in big trouble,” said Black.
UST pulled off another Houdini act by coming back from 17 points down to beat National University in overtime, 58-57, last Sunday.
While they are an excellent second-half team, UST coach Pido Jarencio still has apprehensions about the team’s slow start as evidenced in their last two games.
The Tigers lost to the Tamaraws, 60-87, following an inept shooting display in the first half then were held to three points in the second quarter against the Bulldogs before pulling off the dramatic victory.
“Ang wish ko lang, sana sa first half lumaban din kami,” Jarencio said. “Hindi pwede sa second half na lagi kaming naghahabol.”
The Tamaraws, losers of seven straight games against Ateneo dating back to the second round of 2010, are looking to neutralize Greg Slaughter in the paint with their undersized frontline.
“Mahirap bantayan si Slaughter, mahirap hawakan at nafa-foul namin siya,” said FEU coach Bert Flores, whose team lost to the Blue Eagles, 74-71, during the first round.
The Green Archers extended their winning streak to three with a 73-52 win over University of the East last Saturday but their first true test of the second round will be against the Tigers, who defeated them 84-82 in double overtime in their first encounter.
“A lot of crucial games are coming up. Mahirap talaga kalaban ang UST, they are very strong in almost all positions,” said La Salle head coach Gee Abanilla.