Twin bill fires off UAAP caging July 14

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THE UNIVERSITY Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) fires off on July 14 hardly worried about its looming clash with a competing varsity league.

Season 75 of the country’s premier collegiate basketball tournament— which will coincide with NCAA playdates—gets going with the 2 p.m. battle between host National University and University of the East and the 4 p.m. match between University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University on July 14 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Ateneo, shooting for its fifth straight crown, opens its campaign against Adamson at 4 p.m. on July 15, after the 2 p.m. encounter between La Salle and University of the Philippines, also at the MOA Arena.

“They (NCAA) have their own fans, we have our own fans, and we’re not threatened at all,” UAAP president Nilo Ocampo said at the PSA Forum yesterday at Shakey’s UN Avenue.

The first blockbuster showdown between Ateneo and La Salle is set on July 29 at 4 p.m. at the MOA Arena, where majority of the games will be held as the league celebrates its diamond jubilee.

“About 60 percent of the games will be held here,” Ocampo said of Metro Manila’s new world-class sports and entertainment venue.

Ato Badolato will serve as commissioner in all basketball divisions.

Ocampo said the Bulldogs expect a stronger showing in basketball aside from competing in more events, including taekwondo, soccer and softball.

Bannered by reigning UAAP MVP Ray Parks, the Bulldogs finished a surprised fifth last season.

“Last year, most of our players were rookies and they’re still adjusting with each other,” said Ocampo. “Now all of them are playing well together and Parks has been playing exceptionally well.

“But we know that this season, most of the schools stepped up. It will be an exciting year.”

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