Ateneo begins hard climb to top vs UP

Myke Miravite
Ateneo begins its second round campaign vs UP while UST and UE meet.

MANILA, Philippines — After a two-week break, last year’s runner-up University of Santo Tomas will be put to test early in the second round as they face a rejuvenated University of the East on Thursday, August 15 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

With both teams sporting an identical win-loss record, African big men Karim Abdul and Charles Mammie will try to lift their respective teams to a 5th win this season as the race gets harder approaching the homestretch of Season 76.

But the Growling Tigers’ fate in the next 7 games will be hinged on Jeric Teng’s health as he tries to come back from a shoulder injury he incurred in the first round off a Jeff Javilionar challenge.

UE, on the other hand, is riding high on Roi Sumang’s stellar performance as he finished the first round with averages of 19.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.1 steals on a 37.0% field goal shooting.

But the Recto-based squad has shown two different faces in the first round: a team who can beat the best of the league and a team who have faltered from pressure in end-game. Against UST, they will hope to be the former.

Battle of Katipunan 2

Five-peat champions Ateneo de Manila University take on cellar-dwellers University of the Philippines as their first assignment after the break, armed with the chance to spark a run in a last-ditch effort to return to the Final Four.

Kiefer Ravena is expected to be healthier now as he tries to up his numbers from 9.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, and 1.4 apg.

On the other side of the court meanwhile, the Fighting Maroons are sure itching for a first season win which makes them a dangerous side that could pull off an upset on a good shooting day.

Sam Marata and Raul Soyud lead the Diliman five as they tally in 14.3 and 8.8 points per outing respectively but their teammates have been unspectacular so far as far as the stat sheet is concerned.

In Thursday’s curtain-raiser, will Ateneo bring themselves back to .500 or are we going to see an upset as UP gets its win no.1 in 8 games? –