GAMES TODAY (Araneta Coliseum)
12 noon?UE vs NU
4 p.m.?La Salle
MANILA, Philippines?Two fierce rivals still groping for their finest forms clash in an early UAAP showdown today.
Ateneo and De La Salle face off earlier than usual this season in a blockbuster battle at 4 p.m. to test their young guns in the men?s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
?We?re still a work in progress at this point,? said Ateneo coach Norman Black of the Blue Eagles, the back-to-back champions still favored on paper despite the graduation of former MVP Rabeh Al-Hussaini.
?I?m still trying to find the players who will be productive for us. I?m trying to establish an 11-man rotation and find out who can step up and compete at this level.?
Both the Green Archers and the Eagles are shooting for their third triumph in four games.
La Salle coach Dindo Pumaren also said his rookie-laden crew expects more tough games ahead.
?We have to be more consistent,? said Pumaren. ?We have to concentrate on our defense and sustain our aggressiveness and energy.?
Earlier at 12 noon, a surprisingly competitive National University targets a second victory against the winless University of the East.
Tickets for today?s two featured games were sold separately.
Idle Far Eastern University, this season?s title favorite, owns the solo top spot after the Tamaraws stretched their unbeaten run to three games.
The Eagles and the Archers are tied for second along with the University of Santo Tomas Tigers and the Adamson Falcons.
?It doesn?t really matter what your records are going into a La Salle-Ateneo game,? said Black. ?It?s going to be a tough game for us mainly because of the crowd.?
The Eagles have drawn solid contributions from Nico Salva and Emman Monfort and a recent breakout game from Justin Chua.
La Salle star Joshua Webb has yet to flash his typically fiery game, but Simon Atkins, Maui Villanueva, Sam Marata and rookies led by Papot Paredes have given the Archers a big lift.