UAAP: Maroons, Tigers clash for solo lead

By Kristel Satumbaga

Games Saturday

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

2 p.m. – Adamson vs NU

4 p.m. – UP vs UST

Javi Gomez de Liano, right, spearheads UP in its bid for a second straight win. (Rio Deluvio)

University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas aim for solo lead when they clash Saturday in UAAP Season 82 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Game is at 4 p.m. with both teams hoping to ride on the momentum of their opening game victories Wednesday.

The Maroons survived the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 61-55, while the Tigers crushed the University of the East Warriors, 95-82, to jumpstart their title bids.

UP coach Bo Perasol hopes Kobe Paras will be physically ready for the expected tough match after the 6-foot-6 rookie sensation missed their first game due to a right ankle sprain.

“I’m hoping that he’ll be available because he needs to fill in the game even for limited minutes,” said Perasol, adding that he did not want to risk Paras against FEU even if it was only a minor sprain.

While Paras’ availability will be known on game day, Perasol will rely on Javi Gomez De Liaño, Ricci Rivero and Bright Akhuetie after steering the squad during shaky moments against the Tamaraws.

Perasol hopes his stalwarts learned from the first game after “getting too carried away” in the face of UST aggressive players.

“Their being small is nakakaloko. Minsan, they play bigger than bigger teams,” said Perasol.

“We just have to go back to the drawing board on how to play against those aggressive teams,” Perasol said.

UST seeks a follow-up of its first-game win over UE last Wednesday. (Rio Deluvio)

For UST coach Aldin Ayo, offense will be the key. But the rookie-laden Tigers must build more confidence in going up against stronger squads like UP.

“We have to run because that’s the only way we can win. But I told my players not to be afraid to commit mistakes as long as they learn from it right away. Yan kasi tendency ng mga newcomers, takot magkamali,” said Ayo.

“Hopefully, they mature right away,” Ayo said of his rookies.

Rookie-transferee Rhenz Abando is expected to carry the fight for the Tigers along with 6-foot-6 center Chabi Chabiyo and skipper CJ Cansino.

Meanwhile, Adamson seeks to bounce back from a 70-52 defeat to defending champion Ateneo when it faces National University at 2 p.m.

Eyes will be on Fil-Peruvian guard Val Chauca after he lead the Falcons’ fightback from 22 points down to five in the payoff period that had the Eagles scrambling for tighter defense.

NU, for its part, will parade brother Dave and Shaun Ildefonso, John Lloyd Clemente and John Galinato as it bids for a better finish after a seventh place ending last season.

Tags: Adamson , NU , UAAP men’s basketball , UP , UST