ATENEO may be the early leader in Season 77 of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament, but head coach Bo Perasol still worries about maturity - or the lack of it - ahead of the Blue Eagles' match against National University on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Eagles will be looking for their fourth win in a row when they take on the Bulldogs at 4 p.m. in a bid to cement their hold on the top spot.
After initially hurdling defending champion La Salle, Ateneo got a scare on Wednesday as the Eagles had to pull off a hard-earned win over University of the Philippines, 88-75, for the Maroons’ 24th straight loss.
“Young as they are, they thought it’s going to be a breeze against UP,” said Perasol, whose team made headlines after recruiting some of the top high school players in the country including top-scorer in the game against UP in Arvin Tolentino (20 points).
That maturity is something Perasol sees with NU going into its weekend match-up. Even without two-time MVP Bobby Ray Parks, the Bulldogs remained a playoff-bound team.
“I think they always have a good system. They will always be there contending. They have the right maturity. I think most of them have matured with coach Eric’s system.
“It’s going to be a good challenge come Saturday,” Perasol said.
The Bulldogs (2-1) are aching to bounce back from their 57-55 loss to the Green Archers for their first loss of Season 77.
NU coach Eric Altamirano welcomes the challenge of going up against the undefeated Eagles after a close loss against the Green Archers.
“Right now, it’s a test of character for us, whether we win the game or we lose the game. Against Ateneo, we have to come out tough and be able to assert ourselves,” said Altamirano.
In the first game, University of Santo Tomas goes for its second straight win against winless Adamson at 2 p.m.
The Tigers claimed their first win of the season against Far Eastern University, 69-67, last Sunday, while the Falcons dropped a 72-99 decision to University of the East last Saturday.