Ateneoís assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga: 'UP deserves to be in the Finals'

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 30, 2018 07:31 PM
Ateneoís assistant coach: 'UP deserves to be in the Finals'
Defending champion Ateneo is not at all taking upstart UP lightly

The University of the Philippines has painted the town maroon.

While the Fighting Maroons have had a magical UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament, they still aren’t the favorites to win it all.

Instead, that tag belongs to defending champion Ateneo de Manila University – the favorite in the preseason and the favorite up to now.

Still, just like before, nobody would be hearing anything like that from the Blue Eagles.

From the offseason through the season itself, their mantra has been one game at a time.

And even now, they aren’t taking their opponents lightly. “UP played really well against Adamson and they certainly deserve to be in the Finals,” assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga said.

He then continued, “We have got to play well defensively against them. they are on a roll and we have to make sure we establish our defense against them.”

However, even with the defending champions not making guarantees, both recent history and the current season speak volumes about their chances.

This year, their defense is first in points allowed while their offense is second in points scored. All of that while they also lead the league in rebounds in blocks.

Those numbers are, in fact, even better than their championship run a season ago when their defense ranked third in points allowed and their offense ranked second in points scored. They were then third in rebounding and fifth in blocking.

More than those recent statistics, all in all in the last decade, Ateneo has been king all but four times.

Without a doubt, the Fighting Maroons have already made so much history.

In their best-of-three championship round, however, history is on the side of the Blue Eagles.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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