September 21, 2019
University of the Philippines (UP) wants a firmer hold of the second spot when it battles University of the East (UE) today in Season 82 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
The Fighting Maroons (3-1) take on the No. 6 Red Warriors (1-3) at 2 p.m. before No. 3 Adamson University (3-2) faces No. 7 De La Salle University (1-3) at 4 p.m.
Last season’s runner-up UP ascended to solo second after posting its first winning streak at the expense of National University, 80-79, last Wednesday.
Veteran coach Bo Perasol is urging his Maroons to play all-out against the Warriors who are coming off an 89-88 upset against La Salle behind star recruit Rey Suerte last week.
“We need to go out strong against UE which is on cloud nine right now. That’s a very dangerous team. We have to find a way how to defend them especially their main scorers,” said Perasol.
Meanwhile, UE active consultant Lawrence Chongson is hoping that their breakthrough win, which ended the Warriors’ five-year losing streak against the Green Archers will inspire the Warriors.
“We didn’t acquire Rey Suerte and an import just to get one win,” said Chongson. “Hopefully, this will serve as an inspiration for them.”
Prized recruit Kobe Paras, who averaged 22.5 points, six rebounds and 1.5 assists in his first two UAAP games, will lead UP’s fight along with reigning MVP Bright Akhuetie and forward Javi Gomez De Liaño.
Three-time CESAFI MVP Suerte, who scored the game-winning triple against La Salle for a career-high 31 points, will lead UE together with Senegalese center Alex Diakhite and Neil Tolentino.
Meanwhile, last year’s semifinalist Adamson shoots for back-to-back wins versus a struggling La Salle.
The Soaring Falcons are riding the momentum of their 78-71 comeback triumph over University of Santo Tomas that saw one-and-done guard Val Chauca shines in their 16-0 finishing run.
Fil-Peruvian guard Chauca, veteran shooter Jerrick Ahanmisi and Congolese big man Lenda Douanga are expected to power the Falcons’ hunt for a second consecutive win.
But La Salle is raring to snap its two-game losing skid, the most recent a 55-66 defeat to Far Eastern University.
The Archers will bank on recruit Jamie Malonzo as well as mainstays Andrei Caracut, Justin Baltazar and Aljun Melecio.
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