Ateneo eyes payback, semis bonus vs USTBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Ateneo shoots for the twice-to-beat semifinal bonus against the squad that dealt the Blue Eagles their first-round heartbreak.
And Ateneo coach Norman Black hopes to find a defensive antidote against University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament Saturday.
“We’ll figure out what they’re (Tigers) doing offensively and try to stop them, it’s that simple,” said Black.
The Blue Eagles plan to make the towering Greg Slaughter the focal point of their offense in the 4 p.m. match, right after eliminated teams University of the East and Adamson tangle at 2 p.m. at Mall of Asia Arena.
“Every game that’s what we’re hoping for, that they won’t double team Greg, so we’ll just keep dumping the ball down to him,” said Black.
A victory will not only avenge the Blue Eagles’ embarrassing loss to the Tigers—where they uncharacteristically blew a 19-point advantage—but also seal their hold of the top spot.
Meanwhile, commissioner Ato Badolato yesterday slapped a two-game ban on Far Eastern University big man Arvie Bringas for throwing an elbow to the head of University of the Philippines standout Diony Hipolito in their Thursday game.
Bringas’ penalty came just a week after the league and his school each dealt him with a one-game suspension for spitting on Ateneo’s Justin Chua.
Badolato also slapped a one-game ban on FEU’s Mark Belo for his rough plays, while FEU’s Roger Pogoy received a warning.
The idle Tamaraws’ latest woes may boost the Tigers’ own bid, but UST coach Pido Jarencio doesn’t want his wards to put their Final Four hopes in the hands of other teams.
“The good thing about this is we’re dictating our destiny,” said Jarencio, who is trying to steer his team away from a current deadlock at second place (9-3) with the Tamaraws.
“We’re not relying on other teams, we’re in control of our situation. So our focus is to stay on top.”
Aljon Mariano starred in the Tigers’ first-round upset of the Eagles, 71-70, but Jarencio also expects Jeric Fortuna, Karim Abdul, Jeric Teng to sustain their strong plays.
“This team is ready,” said Jarencio.