Ateneo, Adamson try to create buffer as UAAP’s top four teams collide
Defending champion Ateneo and powerhouse Adamson seek to gain a cushion against their closest pursuers as the Top 4 teams take the floor on Saturday in UAAP Season 81 seniors basketball at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Carrying a 6-2 record, the Blue Eagles battle the Far Eastern U Tamaraws at 4 p.m., after the Falcons, who share top spot with Ateneo, clash with the resurgent La Salle Green Archers.
Ateneo will be without star wingman Thirdy Ravena, who will serve a suspension for an unsportsmanlike foul that was upgraded into a disqualifying foul upon review in their match against the University of the Philippines.
Ravena’s suspension bars the star wingman, an MVP contender, from winning any individual award, this season. The incident stemmed from a punch that Ravena threw at Paul Desiderio of UP last Saturday.
The Tamaraws are also playing without power forward Arvin Tolentino, whose disqualifying foul on University of Santo Tomas’ Zach Huang was his second infraction of the season. The league has slapped a two-game suspension on Tolentino, who will also miss the duel against UP on Tuesday.
The Falcons and Archers are actually meeting just one week after La Salle prevailed over Adamson, 79-78, in overtime at the close of the first round last week.
“I guess everybody is itching to get even with them which, I guess, is a good sign,” said Adamson coach Franz Pumaren, whose team started the season on a five-game winning run. “But we’re playing our third game in a week. It’s nice to hype up the game, but if we’re playing another school, it’s still a must win for us. Bottom line is we want to maintain where we are now and get the [twice-to-beat] incentive.”
The Archers, who, like the Tams own a 5-3 record, go to battle on the back of two straight victories against Adamson and University of the East.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.