Defending champ DLSU is still team to beat

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 04, 2017 04:39 PM
Defending champ DLSU is still team to beat
CHANGE IS NOT COMING. DLSU remains the hands down favorite to go back-to-back.

The target remains on the back of De La Salle University.

All but one of the eight member-schools named the defending champion Green Archers as the top team heading into the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Of course, that exception was the Taft-based team itself.

DLSU was the first answer by coaches Franz Pumaren of Adamson University, Sandy Arespacochaga of Ateneo de Manila University, Olsen Racela of Far Eastern University, Jamike Jarin of National University, and Bo Perasol of University of the Philippines.

“La Salle because they’re still intact,” Pumaren said.

Indeed, DLSU still boasts of Season MVP Ben Mbala, Rookie of the Year Aljun Melecio, defensive specialist Kib Montalbo, and hyper-athletic Ricci Rivero.

Of course, they also lost two-time champion and two-time Finals MVP Jeron Teng together with longtime veterans Jason Perkins, Julian Sargent, and Thomas Torres.

Along with the Green Archers, runner-up Ateneo and playoff participants FEU and Adamson were also mentioned as teams to beat. “The usual suspects,” UP’s Perasol expressed.

Most of the teams, though, were also quick to add that this time around, the competition is much closer. “This year, well-balanced talaga. Grabe yung magiging competition,” Racela of FEU said.

“Any team can beat any team,” University of the East’s Derrick Pumaren agreed.

University of Sto. Tomas’ Boy Sablan echoed the same sentiment. “All have equal chances now,” he said.

The UAAP goes for great in Season 80 starting on Saturday at the MOA Arena.

Of course, all of the action will be on S+A, S+A HD, and livestream.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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