Weekend games: UP targets lead as NU tries to keep in step
Unless fate twists itself into carnival-level contortions, University of the Philippines should be able to keep its spot on top the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball standings.
Can National University keep rooming in with the defending champions?
The Maroons take on University of Santo Tomas—whose Tigers have been on a spiral since winning their season-opening match—on Saturday to kick off a string of weekend matchups at Ynares Center in Antipolo City that will cap the first round of the elimination phase.
Game time is at 1 p.m., to be followed by the La Salle-Adamson encounter.
On Sunday, the Bulldogs take their turn on the court against a more determined foe. NU battles an awakened Far Eastern University at 4:30 p.m. with an eye toward ending the first round with at least a share of the lead.
“This UAAP season, anything can happen,” said FEU coach Olsen Racela, whose Tamaraws snapped a five-game slide on Wednesday with a 75-60 clubbing of UST. “Any team can beat any team. So it’s a good balance of competition. We will try. I know that they’re playing really well but we’re hoping that we could ride the momentum of this win.”
The Tamaraws rode their worst start to a season out and finally found their rhythm against the Tigers.
“I told them, it’s not what happens to you but what happens in you that matters. Even when we were on a losing streak, I told them to stay positive and eventually, if we work hard, it will soon pay off,” Racela said.
UST will certainly hinge its hopes on the “anything can happen” train. After all, the Tigers will face a UP team that not only has won five of its first six games, they will also deal with a group of Maroons that is constantly trying to be better.
“We are looking to address our consistency,” said UP coach Goldwyn Monteverde. “I know we could really execute offensively, and we really do good on defense. I just want us to do that on a consistent basis.”
Meanwhile, Ateneo battles University of the East on Sunday hoping to continue tugging at the coattails of the league leaders.
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