(Mall of Asia Arena)
10 a.m. — UST vs Ateneo
12 p.m. — UE vs NU
2 p.m. — FEU vs Adamson
6 p.m. — La Salle vs UP
Unbeaten University of the Philippines guards against complacency when it takes on De La Salle University to shoot for a sixth straight win in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 86 men’s basketball tournament today at Mall of Asia Arena.
Still perfect after five outings, the Fighting Maroons are out to improve their already best start in the Final Four era in the 6 p.m. main game of the quadruple-header playdate.
Meanwhile, defending champion Ateneo de Manila University looks for a bounce back win against listless University of Santo Tomas in the 10 a.m. curtain-raiser while second-running National University seeks a third straight win in the 12 p.m. showdown against University of the East.
Adamson University, on the other hand, battles Far Eastern University at 2 p.m.
UP marches into the match full of confidence after an emphatic 110-79 crushing of UST.
But head coach Goldwin Monteverde’s players know they need to control their emotions and not let their guard down despite facing a Green Archers side that is coming off a stinging loss.
“We can’t be too complacent in practice, especially in games. Our goal is to unleash our full potential. We have to regroup and remind ourselves of the dangers of complacency. It starts with discipline,” veteran guard JD Cagulangan said.
The depth of its roster has been the biggest edge of UP this season and it was in full display the last time out as all 14 players fielded by Monteverde chipped in led by Harold Alarcon and Cagulangan, who had 21 and 16 points, respectively.
Monteverde takes the match as a good test of character for the Fighting Maroons, who are priming up for the end of first round encounter against last year’s finals tormentor Ateneo on Saturday.
“I think we are still far (from reaching our full potential). We need to work on our defense. But that’s the goal as the season goes,” he said.
“We all know what kind of team La Salle is this season. So, we really have to prepare and be ready.”
The Green Archers are reeling from a painful 77-80 overtime loss at the hands of the Bulldogs last Sunday.
La Salle is currently in a two-way tie at third to fourth spots along with Adamson with identical 3-2 slates.
Green Archers head coach Topex Robinson will rely on Kevin Quiambao, Mark Nonoy, Evan Nelle and Mike Phillips to carry the team back into the win column.
The on-and-off Blue Eagles, meanwhile, are on a mission to lift their morale after dropping a 61-66 game against the Tamaraws last Saturday.
Ateneo has been struggling to put up consecutive wins as it stayed below the Top 4 with a 2-3 record tied with UE at fifth to sixth.
But the Blue Eagles are fancied to score victory over the Tigers, who are still grasping for form with just two games left before the end of the first round.
UST has yet to win a game after five starts and its drubbing at the hands of UP extended its losing woes to 18 straight sretching back to last season.
Surging NU holds the solo second spot with a 4-1 card and is favored to get past UE, which is coming off back-to-back losses including a 62-75 defeat to Adamson.
In the other pairing, both the Falcons and the Tamaraws, who carry a 1-4 record, are gunning for their second win in a row.