DEFENDING champion Ateneo de Manila University aims to carry the momentum from its significant win over University of the Philippines (UP) at the end of the first round when it faces Far Eastern University (FEU) on Wednesday.
The Blue Eagles, at 4-3 win-loss record, will face the Tamaraws at 4 p.m in the start of the second round of University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 86 men’s basketball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
For coach Tab Baldwin, the last Sunday’s 99-89 overtime victory against the Fighting Maroons will be in vain if the Blue Eagles fail to put on a strong showing in the second round.
“I’m happy that we’re the first ones to knock them off, and they’ve done an awesome job getting at 6-0 with the league as tough as it is this year,” Baldwin said after ending UP’s perfect run.
“But you gotta keep things in the context of the entire season. It becomes meaningless if we don’t play good basketball to follow this up and keep improving as a team,” he added.
“This is a great sign for the development of our team, but until we start showing consistency over more than just a couple of games, nobody should rest.”
Ateneo is currently tied with De La Salle in third and fourth spots at 4-3, two games behind No. 2 National University, which takes on the University of the East at 1 p.m., sporting a 6-1 record. The Bulldogs’ only loss came at the hands of the Fighting Maroons. UP seeks to rediscover its winning ways as it faces Adamson University at 6 p.m.
“We’re No. 1, but for me we’re just halfway through the season. It’s not relevant. My concern is how to play consistently. Definitely after the game today, we’re going to learn a lot,” Fighting Maroons coach Goldwin Monteverde said.
“Our concern right now is how to play consistently. We just have to gather ourselves together and be ready for the games,” he added.
Bulldogs head coach Jeff Napa is pushing his team to focus on their game as NU strives to remain in the top two, as the race for the Final Four placements intensifies.
After ending a 19-game losing streak with a 68-62 victory over FEU, the University of Santo Tomas is not content.
The Growling Tigers aim for their first winning streak of the season as they face the Green Archers in the first game of a busy four-game schedule to open the second round at 11 a.m.