UAAP 82: UST out to topple Ateneo for second time in six months

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 10, 2019 01:59 PM
UAAP: UST out to topple Ateneo for second time in six months
(Photo courtesy of PBA Images)

University of Sto. Tomas stands right alongside Ateneo de Manila University atop the leaderboard of the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament.

And so, when the two teams wage war against one another on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum, there will be a clear league-leader.

Heading into that must-see matchup, Blue Eagles' head coach Tab Baldwin has nothing but high praise for the Growling Tigers.

In the same light, head coach Aldin Ayo can only credit his counterpart. "Thank you for the high regard and for raising the level of play in UAAP," he answered when asked to react to what coach Tab had said.

Of course, while the respect is there, coach Aldin and the rest of UST will go all-out to take down the two-time defending champions. "As they say, Ateneo is the team-to-beat so that is our challenge, that is what we aim to do - beat Ateneo," he exclaimed.

He then continued, "Hopefully, our rookies and the whole team respond to the challenge."

The one-time NCAA and one-time UAAP champion coach was referring to talented first-year players Rhenz Abando and Mark Nonoy who will front the charge alongside CJ Cansino, Renzo Subido, and Soulemane Chabi Yo.

After all, it was also Abando and Nonoy who showed the way for the Growling Tigers when they last challenged Ateneo back in March.

The ending in that one? A convincing victory for Ironcon-UST versus eventual champion Cignal-Ateneo in the 2019 PBA D-League.

For their part, the Blue Eagles have not forgotten that loss. "We have to remember yung game namin sa kanila sa D-League. We lost that game so dapat, 'di kami complacent na kahit 2-0 kami ngayon. Coming into Wednesday game, we have to be alert," Matt Nieto said.

That is exactly why even three days before that showdown, the boys from Katipunan are already gearing up to keep pace with running and gunning Growling Tigers. "Kailangan na naming mag-breathing exercises ngayon kasi grave UST, takbo nang takbo," Nieto said.

Thirdy Ravena could only agree. "Mamaya pa lang, magta-track and field training na kami lahat kasi we know that they're a very fast team. 'Di sila napapagod kaya nga I watched their game and they actually ran UP out," he shared.

He then continued, "In the last few minutes, yung kamay ng UP players, nasa tuhod na nila so we're gonna try our best to prepare for 'Mayhem' basketball once again."

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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