Blue Eagles still UAAP consensus top squadBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
DESPITE powering National University to a preseason crown, Ray Parks thinks the Bulldogs face an even more formidable Ateneo squad in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament this season.
“We still have a lot of stuff to work on,” said Parks, the reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player. “All the teams that played in Filoil, that wasn’t them yet. That’s not the real Ateneo for me.”
The Bulldogs pulled off a surprise 11-game sweep of the Filoil Flying V Preseason league last month, stunning the Blue Eagles in the semifinals and the La Salle Green Archers in the title round.
“It doesn’t matter if we won the preseason,” Parks added during the PSA Forum presented by Smart, Pagcor and Shakey’s at Shakey’s UN Avenue yesterday. “We’re not there yet, but we will be when the UAAP season comes.”
The Bulldogs kick off Season 75 against the University of the East at 2 p.m. on July 14 at Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena.
Far Eastern University, a traditional favorite, tackles University of Santo Tomas at 4 p.m.
The Blue Eagles start their bid for a fifth straight crown against Adamson at 4 p.m. on July 15, after the 2 p.m. battle between La Salle and University of the Philippines.
“If ambitious means aspiring for the crown, then we are, because we’re aspiring for it,” said NU athletic director Junel Baculi. “For the last three years, we’ve been training abroad and building this team.”
“The team to beat is Ateneo,” added Bulldogs guard Ajeet Singh.
UST’s veteran guard Jeric Fortuna agreed that the Tigers’ experience will be a key factor.