The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) promises to open season 71with a bang. With host UP Fighting Maroons also celebrating their 100 years of excellence, I expect them to come out I full force to put on a show today and tomorrow. A fierce feud between the LASALLE Green Archers and the ATENEO Blue Eagles will once again be brought into the spot light, with people wondering who will score first blood in this epic feud. In this country, the Ateneo-La Salle games are the only events where senators, foreign diplomats, cabinet ministers, a smattering of Forbes's 40 richest Filipinos, movie stars and professional basketball players cheer for their respective teams as they score each bucket between a sea of green and blue.
On paper, Ateneo appears to have the most star-studded rookies in the league. However, papers do not win ball games. The advantage of the Blue Eagles is that they have renewed confidence after winning the recently concluded Nike Summer League. But among their rookies, it is only Buenafe who has shown his worth. Ateneo needs more than just a Chris Tiu show to win it all. They need production from all positions. They are a big team, but not a fast one. They need consistent defense to beat La Salle. They have to peak at the right time.
La Salle’s Time Proven Remedy
On the other hand, things will be different for the Archers this year. They will rely heavily on Casio and Meirhofer to get their title defense on track. I also believe that Mangahas, Barua and Atkins will be a lot better this year. The trademark La Salle defense will definitely be a big factor. Add to their tremendous conditioning and what you get is a team that consistently peaks, at the right time. Of course, there is no better coach in UAAP right now than Franz Pumaren. It is apparent that his methods work and that system is what has kept La Salle a contender all these years.
Plus, with agent zero of the Washington Wizards watching, both teams should be motivated to bring out their best.. Let us wait, watch, enjoy, and find out what the results will be.
UAAP GAMES SCHEDULE:
July 5 Saturday (Araneta Coliseum):
2PM – FEU vs. Adamson University
4PM – UST vs. UE
July 6 Sunday (Araneta Coliseum):
2PM – UP vs. NU
4PM – La Salle vs. Ateneo