ATENEO faces a University of the Philippines (UP) side that’s surely ablaze in Game 1 of the race-to-two University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 84 men’s basketball Finals on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The game is set 4 p.m.
The Blue Eagles are the champions of the last three seasons but are in the Finals against the same team that dealt them their first loss in 39 games that spanned three seasons—83-84 at the close of the eliminations a week ago.
UP, too, is entering the game all fired up from its come-from-behind 78-74 win over De La Salle in their do-or-die Final Four game on Friday night.
But Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin is just happy that the Bule Eagles are back in the Finals.
“We are happy to be in the Finals again. We have a good season at this point of time and we just hope to finish this off in good form and play well to win the title,” Baldwin said. “But we have two tough games ahead.”
The Blue Eagles have thrown that loss to the Fighting Maroons out the window and booted out the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in one game in the semifinals, 85-72.
UP, too, has put everything behind and are looking forward to the championship round.
“We just have to put everything behind after those games that we played,” UP coach Goldwyn Monteverde said. “We have to study Ateneo and be ready for them.”
Carl Tamayo shone for UP against De La Salle with 19 points and 10 rebounds on Friday night. He’ll be a force for the Fighting Maroons against their rivals from across Katipunan.