NU targets solo UAAP lead vs Adamson
MANILA, Philippines — National University may have pulled off a huge upset, but the Bulldogs hardly expect the game to get any easier when they go for the solo lead against winless Adamson in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament Wednesday.
The Bulldogs, who dealt Ateneo its first loss last weekend, shoot for a fourth triumph against a motivated Falcons side in the 4 p.m. match at Mall of Asia Arena.
“We cannot be complacent against Adamson,” NU coach Eric Altamirano said of the rookie-laden Falcons, who came close to upsetting last season’s runner-up University of Santo Tomas, 49-50.
“They’re a young team, but they can keep up with veteran teams like UST. We have to bring our A-game against Adamson.”
Far Eastern University also sees a dangerous University of the East squad when they battle in the first game at 2 p.m.
“From the very beginning, I’ve always said UE is a very strong team,” said FEU coach Nash Racela.
“(Charles) Mammie is capable of dominating inside and (Moustapha) Arafat is very active on both ends. I consider the two as super imports and they’re supported by very good locals. They can shoot from the outside, plus there’s the leadership of (Roi) Sumang. It’s going to be hard for us. We just have to find ways.”
FEU and UE, along with idle UST, are at 2-1 behind NU and Ateneo’s pacesetting 3-1 slate.
The Bulldogs wound up sharing the top spot with the Blue Eagles after stunning the former-five time champions in a 64-60 decision last Saturday.
“We’re not an offensive team, so we just rely on sheer defense,” said Altamirano, who leaned on Troy Rosario, rookie Rev Diputado and Paolo Javelona in the upset win.
Although the Falcons are coming off a heartbreaker, Adamson coach Kenneth Duremdes sees a lot of promise in his squad of 11 rookies led by the hefty Ivan Villanueva.
“The boys are responding now and starting to believe in the system,” said Duremdes. “The improvement that we’re looking for is somehow there. There’s still a lot of things lacking, but the positive thing is they’re responding to what we’re doing.”