Ateneo seeks twice-to-beat edge vs La Salle
MANILA—More than just sweeping its rival this season, Ateneo targets a bigger prize when it battles La Salle in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament Sunday.
Ateneo coach Norman Black said he expects the Blue Eagles to keep their focus as the defending champions shoot for the first twice-to-beat Final Four incentive against the Green Archers in the main game at 3 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We want to refocus on what we’re trying to accomplish,” said Black. “It’s a long ride. It’s hard to keep them up there the entire ride.”
Still unbeaten in 10 games, the Blue Eagles also aim to sustain their sweep bid, which comes with an outright title berth.
Tickets for the league’s crowd-drawer are sold separately from the first game where University of Santo Tomas hopes to boost its own Final Four drive against the University of the East at 11 a.m.
La Salle coach Dindo Pumaren said his Green Archers are trying to stay positive following three straight losses, the last on a 60-52 decision against the Tigers last Thursday.
The string of setbacks pushed the Archers down to fifth at 4-6.
“Of course it has been tough, but I still believe in our team,” said Pumaren, who’s relying on LA Revilla, Joseph Marata and Norbert Torres.
“We have to be aggressive at both ends. The boys are trying their best, they’ve been working hard to get over this hump.”
But Black said it hasn’t been smooth either for the Eagles despite their perfect record, citing his squad’s narrow win over the rebuilding Warriors, 74-72, last Thursday.
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