ATENEO kicks off its quest for a sixth straight UAAP crown against preseason favorite National University, while last year’s runner-up University of Santo Tomas tackles a La Salle side boasting a stellar rookie class in the opening weekend of the men’s basketball tournament.
“We’re hoping to surpass the success of last season,” Malou Isip, secretary-treasurer of Season 76 host Adamson, said in the PSA Forum yesterday at Shakey’s Malate.
The premier varsity league tips off on June 29 with the emerging University of the East battling Far Eastern University at 2 p.m. and a virtually intact UST squad clashing against La Salle at 4 p.m. at Mall of Asia Arena.
Former Adamson stars and PBA greats Kenneth Duremdes and Hector Calma will grace the 1 p.m. opening ceremony.
Ateneo, with new coach Bo Perasol at the helm, collides with NU at 4 p.m. on June 30 after the 2 p.m. tussle between Adamson and University of the Philippines also at MOA Arena.
“It’s a wide open race,” said Adamson coach Leo Austria. “We know the expectations for us are higher. Aside from being the host, the difference this year is we now have big man (6-foot-8 Ingrid Sewa) and we want to capitalize on that.”
Isip said the league, with the theme “Greatness Never Ends,” has also tapped Chito Loyzaga as basketball commissioner.
“He’s well known in the PBA and he has done a lot not only in basketball but he’s also well versed in sports,” Isip said of Loyzaga, who once served as PSC commissioner.
Isip also believes the fans won’t shy away despite the increase in ticket prices in the patron (P300), lower box (P250) and upper box (P150/P100) sections.
“Every year, students are really looking forward to the UAAP,” said Isip.