War for first erupts between Tigers and Maroons

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 13, 2015 01:33 AM
War for first erupts between Tigers and Maroons
SURPRISE, SURPRISE. UP and UST are both looking to surprise even more when they shoot for the solo top spot.

Amidst all the fuss about the two remaining undefeated teams in the 78th Season of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament, in the end, the showdown between the University of Sto. Tomas and the University of the Philippines comes down to being alone atop the leaderboard.

Both come in 2-0, but only one comes out still perfect and newly-minted solo first when the Growling Tigers take on the Fighting Maroons on Sunday at the MOA Arena.

The war for first begins at 2:00 PM and will be broadcast LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23 as well as streamed LIVE on sports.abs-cbn.com.

After hacking out fourth quarter getaways to open their respective campaigns, both teams are coming off unexpected impressive victories the last time around. The Tigers bit off a 72-71 win over erstwhile favorite Far Eastern University while the Maroons downed consensus contender De La Salle University, 71-66.

UP has leaned on a deep and talented lineup that has seemingly bought in to first-year head coach Rensy Bajay’s philosophy. “Everyday, I see these boys work hard and sacrifice in practice so I’m not surprised that we’re at 2-0,” a confident Bajar said.

Still, it remains to be seen if the biggest surprise thus far in the season will be able to sustain this level of play. What’s sure is that the returning Jett Manuel and Paul Desiderio along with team captain JR Gallarza will go all out to prove the Maroons’ legitimate contention.

On the other hand, UST has been carried by veterans Ed Daquioag and Kevin Ferrer who look determined to return their team to the Final Four. “Nakaka-boost ng morale yung record, pero ‘di kami titigil dun,” an equally confident second-year mentor Bong Dela Cruz said.

To keep their momentum, the Growling Tigers are hoping that longtime stalwart Karim Abdul will finally rediscover his old form. Moreover, while a veteran-laden squad will always be competitive, Daquioag and Ferrer are expecting more contribution from their little brothers.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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