University of the Philippines Aims for Victory Against Ateneo in UAAP Showdown
In a highly anticipated match-up, the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons will face their two-time championship rival, the Ateneo Blue Eagles, in the second round of the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament. The game is set to take place on Sunday, October 29, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Fighting Maroons, currently leading the tournament after eight games, hope to carry their momentum and play with inspiration. Led by Malick Diouf, UP suffered a 99-89 loss against defending champion Ateneo in their previous encounter, which was a rematch of last year’s championship Game 3. Despite this setback, UP maintains a strong 7-1 standing in the tournament.
While the Blue Eagles have had a mixed season, with an even 4-4 record heading into their second-round match against the Fighting Maroons, they cannot be underestimated. In recent history, UP has struggled to defeat Ateneo, with their last victory coming in Game 1 of the Season 85 best-of-three championship series. The Fighting Maroons are determined to change this trend.
UP assistant coach Christian Luanzon expressed the team’s preparations for the upcoming game, stating, “We have [time] to prepare for that. We’re gonna do that, I’m sure they will also. It’s gonna be a tough game, for sure. We want to clean up a lot of things na we thought we should have done better noong kalaban sila, especially on defense. So it should be a good one. As long as players come to play.”
Following their loss to Ateneo, UP quickly bounced back with a convincing 77-51 win over Adamson. On the other hand, Ateneo faced a narrow 62-59 defeat against Far Eastern University on the same day. Luanzon highlighted the importance of this game for UP’s season, stating, “This was a good bounce back game for us coming off a loss in the last game. But it’s the start of the second round, obviously, gusto ni coach Gold (Monteverde), one thing that he emphasized even from the start of the season is just to keep pounding. Which means we just continue to build ‘yong mga gusto namin ma-improve as a team on both ends, and we were quite satisfied that we were able to get that bounce back performance on both ends.”
The game is scheduled to tip-off at 6 p.m. and will be the main event of a double-header.