KIEFER Ravena hopes the in-form Ateneo Blue Eagles can carry the momentum into their match against dangerous University of Santo Tomas on Wednesday in the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament.
The Eagles (4-1) seek to gain a share of the lead in the team standings with National University (5-1) when they tangled with the Growling Tigers at 4 p.m. at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Ateneo is riding high on a back-to-back wins capped by an 81-78 victory of Far Eastern University on Sunday.
But the Eagles will end the first round with two more games against league contenders as they finish with a match-up against University of the East on August 10.
But first, they will have to hurdle UST (3-1), a team that is on a three-game winning streak.
Ravena, who scored 23 points in the Eagles’ victory over the Tamaraws, is hoping his teammates will continue to play well in the final stretch of the first round.
“Si Thirdy (Ravena), nakalabas na sa shell niya. Si Chris Newsome, Nico Elorde, and Von Pessumal played big especially with Arvin (Tolentino) not having a good shooting afternoon. Hopefully, we could carry this momentum to UST,” said Ravena.
“There is another string of games for us just like two weeks ago na three straight games. Ngayon, mas mabibigat mga kalaban namin. Sabi ni coach, we are in a good position. Hopefully, mag-carry on lang this weekend,” he added.
UST coach Bong Dela Cruz said his team will definitely be tested after coming away with a 73-57 win over University of the Philippines on Saturday.
“Going sa Wednesday’s game against Ateneo, siguro doon namin talaga malalaman lahat ng pinaghirapan namin sa practice. Going to that game, mahihirapan talaga kami,” said Dela Cruz.
But Ateneo coach Bo Perasol is also expecting a tough game against the Tigers, who are starting to get back to form after their loss to National University at the start of the season.
“I don’t think they will be lying down and giving us a win on Wednesday. We are going to fight for it and prepare hard for that,” said Perasol.
In the first game, reigning champion De La Salle goes for its fourth straight win against winless University of the Philippines at 2 p.m.
After two straight losses to open the season, the Green Archers are looking to extend their winning streak against the Maroons (0-5).
The Maroons will miss head coach Rey Madrid, who was slapped with a two-game suspension by UAAP Commissioner Andy Jao.