HIGHLIGHTS: Ateneo vs UP – UAAP Season 82 round 1
MANILA, Philippines – For the first time in the wild, wild UAAP Season 82, defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles put their undefeated streak on the line against their reloaded finals foes, the UP Fighting Maroons.
While the Blue Eagles –bannered by two-time Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena and last season’s Rookie of the Year Ange Kouame – remain largely intact for their three-peat bid, they face a totally different UP team parading star-studded recruits like Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero.
And that makes for an interesting men's basketball title rematch when the Blue Eagles and the Fighting Maroons clash at 4 pm on Sunday, September 29 at the Araneta Coliseum.
While Paras has taken off with averages of 19.5 points, 6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks across 4 games, the same cannot be said for Rivero yet.
The former Mythical Five member and league champion with the La Salle Green Archers has struggled mightily while wearing the maroon colors, norming just 6.2 points, 5 rebounds and 3.3 turnovers on a cold 27% shooting clip.
Still, UP still has a plethora of options to get their offense from, including reigning MVP Bright Akhuetie, Mythical Five selection Juan Gomez de Liaño and the sharpshooting revelation Javi Gomez de Liaño.
Although UP finally has depth that it can boast of in its 5-1 start, Ateneo has remained unrivaled in terms of production from top to bottom.
The Nieto twins Matt and Mike have remained as huge threats on both ends while defensive stopper Gian Mamuyac has actually risen as the team’s third-best scorer. Adrian Wong and Will Navarro have proven to be quality starters while Isaac Go, SJ Belangel and Tyler Tio have been solid pickups off the bench.
Come Sunday, the league’s best clash for the top spot to end the first round. It’s talent versus chemistry, the hunters versus the hunted.
Who will reign supreme in the next Battle of Katipunan?
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