MANILA, Philippines — Down in the cellar with a combine one win in 9 games, Ateneo de Manila University and University of the Philippines collide in the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament on Sunday, July 21, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Eagles and the Fighting Maroons are languishing down the standings with the first round almost done, but the so-called “Battle of Katipunan” is expected to draw a huge crowd at the venue.
Despite their dreary record, Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena remains upbeat.
“We still believe in ourselves,” Ravena told Rappler after their loss last Sunday. “We just have to go and keep pushing ourselves day in, day out.”
Ryan Buenafe, who’s been averaging 13.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists, will be back in harness after rolling his ankle early in their game against University of the East.
In the main game, league-leading Far Eastern University battles University of Santo Tomas in a titanic matchup featuring the UAAP’s top two teams.
The Tamaraws are atop the team standings with a 5-0 record and are coming off a huge 87-83 win over National University last Wednesday.
FEU hopes to carry the momentum of its run against the Growling Tigers, who are off to a 3-1 card despite losing gunner Jeric Teng to a shoulder injury.
Against the hobbling Espana crew, Tamaraws coach Nash Racela remains wary.
“UST is strong even without Jeric Teng,” said Racela. “That’s the dangerous thing about losing a player. You learn to play without him and let others step up.”