MANILA, Philippines – The battle between the league’s top defensive teams is back as the Ateneo Blue Eagles hope to lock down one of their toughest matchups in the last two UAAP seasons – the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws.
In the first round, the defending champions’ five-game winning streak got snapped as they absorbed a 60-63 loss to the Tamaraws.
“Our offense was really lacking but certainly the effort was there,” Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin said of the upset.
“I think you give their (FEU) defense a lot of credit why we missed shots. They’re not as highly rated defensively as they are for nothing.”
The Blue Eagles, who are sharing the top spot with the Adamson Falcons at 6-2, vow to get even against a Tams side that’s running 3rd at 5-3. Game is slated at 4 pm on Saturday, October 20, at the Araneta Coliseum.
Both Ateneo and FEU, though, will be missing their leading scorers as Thirdy Ravena and Arvin Tolentino will serve their game suspensions.
In their last showdown, the Blue Eagles shot 29.73% from the field which is way below their average of 39.8%.
On the other hand, the Tamaraws shot the lights out with 10 triples to go with a total of 45.10% field goal percentage. FEU leads the league with a 30.7% three-point field goal clip.
However, the Katipunan-based squad did lose starting point guard Matt Nieto to injury during the game and Ravena also fouled out in the 4th quarter as the Tamaraws started pulling away.
The Blue Eagles remain as the league’s top defensive team as they have limited their opponents to 62.3 points per game.
But without Ravena’s defensive contributions, Gian Mamuyac and Raffy Verano – who averages 1.4 steals per game – will have to step up.
So clearly, this will be another test of which team will get its groove at both ends. – Rappler.com