IN a break from tradition, longtime UAAP rivals De La Salle and Ateneo will hold their first showdown of the season on the morning of July 20.
UAAP secretary treasurer Rod Roque of host University of the East confirmed on Friday that the much-anticipated match between the two rivals will be staged at 11 a.m. on July 20 and not on July 19 or August 2 as earlier scheduled by the league.
Also, the marquee match will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and not at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Magiging July 20 na sila,” Roque told Spin.ph after Thursday's UAAP board meeting. “Supposedly, MOA Arena ‘yun pero nakipag-swap kami with Araneta.”
Roque gave no detailed explanation for the sudden shift to a morning schedule for the Ateneo-La Salle match, for so long the highlight of the UAAP season calendar which was traditionally held in the afternoon.
But league insiders said the shift came about after Ateneo requested that its match against La Salle be moved from July 19 to July 20 owing to a "school event."
When the league granted the request, the Ateneo-La Salle match could no longer be placed in the 4 p.m. slot on July 20 since University of Santo Tomas, which was set to play Far Eastern University in that slot, no longer wanted to give way, the insider added.
As a result, the July 20 playdate will now feature two top-quality games involving four teams expected to figure prominently in the race to Final Four.
Tickets for the two matches will also be sold separately.