Ateneo de Manila University remains, far and away, the favorite to go all the way in the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament.
The Blue Eagles were the most mentioned team-to-beat by the seven other member-schools in the preseason press conference, Sunday at MOA Arena.
"It's quite obvious - it's gotta be Ateneo. From player 1 to player 16, their skills are the same," Adamson University head coach Franz Pumaren said.
The University of the Philippines mentor Bo Perasol could only agree. "It's given that Ateneo will be on top," he said.
Still, that doesn't mean that the three-peat will be a cakewalk for Ateneo as the tournament is being seen to be as tight as it has ever been in recent history. "All the schools have done a wonderful job. Everyone's gonna be a team-to-beat," Gian Nazario, the first-year tactician of De La Salle University, said.
University of Sto. Tomas' Aldin Ayo also said the field is wide open. "It's gonna be a very unpredictable season," the one-time NCAA and one-time UAAP champion said, short but sweet.
After the Blue Eagles, the Soaring Falcons and the Fighting Maroons were also being touted as top teams. As Far Eastern University shot-caller Olsen Racela put it, "It's gonna be Ateneo and then Adamson and UP. Yung iba, maglalaban-laban for the fourth spot."
For its part, thought, Ateneo, true to form, turned down all the noise. "For us, it's pretty simple - (team-to-beat) is Adamson because they're the next team," head coach Tab Baldwin said.
Two of the top teams in the tournament go at it when the Blue Eagles clash with Adamson in the first game day on Wednesday at Araneta Coliseum.
Before that heavyweight bout will be matchups between the Growling Tigers and the Red Warriors and then between the Tamaraws and the Fighting Maroons.
Of course, everybody goes All for More and, as always, all of the action will be on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and livestream.
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