Undefeated teams Ateneo and De La Salle try to stretch their winning run to three when they clash against separate foes in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 84 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City today.
Riding on the momentum of back-to-back wins, the Blue Eagles take on the Adamson Falcons in the curtain-raiser at 10 a.m. while the Archers hope to shoot down the RJ Abarrientos-led Far Eastern University Tamaraws at 1 p.m.
Ateneo secured its second straight win with Tyler Tio putting on a dazzling third quarter showing off the bench, scoring eight of his 18 points including four three-pointers to help the Eagles eke out a 79-70 win against FEU and reintroduce himself as one of the main gunners for the Katipunan-based squad.
Blue Eagles coach Tab Baldwin, however, said there is still a lot of room for improvement for his wards especially on executing plays and making wise decisions down the stretch.
“We have some principles that we believe in, that we think that add up to winning basketball and we’re just not achieving those things, and a lot of room for improvement in our team, a lot of room of improvement in execution a lot of room for improvement in terms of understanding what our principles are,” said the three-time UAAP champion coach as they face the Falcons who carry a 1-1 slate.
“And you know having some integrity into those principles instead of talking about them, so you know, we’re fortunate to get the win of course, but we’re really not worth placing with the performance.”
Meanwhile, De La Salle leaned on Season 82 Rookie of the Year winner Mark Nonoy, who missed the opening game after resting his hamstring injury but produced 13 points on top of three triples off the bench, and veteran big man Justine Baltazar, who likewise posted 13 markers, in the Archers’ 59-55 escape win over NU.
Nonoy and Baltazar formed a new one-two combo for De La Salle as the two were the only players in green and white to score in the payoff period highlighted by a 14-4 run en route to a 56-49 lead.
Filipino-American guard Deschon Winston, who had an explosive 22-point outing in his UAAP debut last March 26, is expected to extend a helping hand against the Tamaraws who have split their first two outings in the tournament.
In other games, the University of the Philippines (1-1) battles National University (1-1) at 4 p.m. match while winless squads University of the East and University of Santo Tomas tangle at 7 p.m. to cap off the quadruple-header.