Ateneo, UST begin UAAP title showdown-A A +A
Saturday, October 6, 2012
MANILA -- Looking for a fifth straight championship, Ateneo de Manila will square off against University of Santo Tomas Saturday afternoon at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City to begin their best-of-three finals series in the 75th UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
It's a matchup that collegiate basketball fans have never seen in six years as the Growling Tigers try to repeat over the Blue Eagles, whom they humbled in three games in 2006.
Ateneo, on the other hand, will go for the equalizer.
Both teams tote an even record prior to Saturday's duel as UST escaped Ateneo, 71-70, in the first round of eliminations in July before the Eagles cancelled things last month via a protest-marred 68-66 victory.
"Guaranteed, it's going to be very intense, in terms of fan base of both schools, I'm sure it will be jampacked. In terms of quality of play, I'm sure it will be topnotch," Ateneo team manager Paolo Trillo said.
UST mentor Pido Jarencio echoed Trillo's statement, saying they have nothing to lose.
"We were in the Final Four in the past years but no finals appearance. We are not being talked about in the pre-season so we have nothing to lose. The hunger is there," he said.
While keeping their eyes on that rare five-peat feat, the Eagles also wanted to win the crown as parting gift to American mentor Norman Black, who will wrap up his duties with the Katipunan-based squad before returning to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Expected to carry the Eagles is the triumvirate of Nico Salva, Greg Slaughter and Kiefer Ravena, who waxed hot in the final period against archrival La Salle in the semifinals while Karim Abdul, Jeric Fortuna and Aljon Mariano will banner for the Tigers.
Gametime is at 3:30 p.m. but the live telecast on ABS-CBN 2 will begin 30 minutes earlier. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)