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STAYING HOT — Surging Bulldogs eye fifth straight win

‘All teams have already gained experience in the first round, so every team will be better.’

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UAAP CENTER Omar John will try to bring NU to a fifth straight win for a firm hold of the top spot in a rematch against UE.

Games today:

(Mall of Asia Arena)

11 a.m. — La Salle vs UST

1 p.m. — NU vs UE

4 p.m. — Ateneo vs FEU

6 p.m. — UP vs Adamson


Streaking National University tries to keep its hold of the lead in a rematch against slumping University of the East to start the second round of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 86 men’s basketball tournament today at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Game time is set at 1 p.m. as the Bulldogs seek to extend their winning streak to five.

Also marching into battle to begin their campaign in the crucial stretch of the Final Four race are De La Salle University and University of Santo Tomas at the 11 a.m. curtain-raiser of the quadruple-bill playdate.

Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University guns for a third win in a row against first round tormentor Far Eastern University at 4 p.m. while University of the Philippines clashes with Adamson University at 6 p.m.

NU and UP share the top spot with identical 6-1 win-loss record at the end of the first round.

The Bulldogs capped the first half of the eliminations with a 69-66 win over the Falcons. They look to replicate their 68-49 drubbing of the Red Warriors in their first meeting last 18 October to boost their chances of making it to the next round.

“Hopefully coming to the second round, we’ll stay consistent.” NU head coach Jeff Napa said as he puts his trust once again on Kean Baclaan, Jake Figueroa, Foreign student-athlete Omar John and Steve Nash Enriquez.

While the Bulldogs are enjoying their surge, UE, on the other hand, wants to arrest a four-game skid.

The Red Warriors, who are currently tied with the Tamaraws at sixth to seventh with a 2-5 card, will rely on Rey Remogat, Precious Momowei, Abdul Sawat and Wello Lingolingo to get out of their current funk.

Meanwhile, the Blue Eagles hope to bring the momentum of their huge 99-89 overtime win over the erstwhile unbeaten Fighting Maroons to finally get their game going after an inconsistent first round.

Ateneo is in third to fourth spot alongside archrival La Salle with identical 4-3 slates. The Blue Eagles have strung up back-to-back wins for the first time this season at the end of the first round.

“We need to turn the corner,” Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin said. “It will be great if we can but we’ll find out on Wednesday if we can step up and be a high-caliber team again. We need to.”

The Blue Eagles are raring to get back at the Tamaraws, who beat them in their first meeting, 66-61, in overtime last 14 October.

Kai Ballungay, Chris Koon, Mason Amos and Joseph Obasa will lead Ateneo’s charge against LJ Gonzales, Xyrus Torres, Mo Faty and Pat Sleat of FEU, which hopes to recover from a stinging 62-68 loss to UST last Sunday.

The Fighting Maroons, meanwhile, want nothing but a rebound win and a repeat over the Falcons side they routed 68-51 in their first meeting.

But bouncing back would be easier said than done.

“I think even before the start of the season, I always say that we have a balanced competition this season. You can’t take any team lightly,”

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