IN NUMBERS: Ateneo vs UE – UAAP Season 81
MANILA, Philippines – Fresh off a revenge game over Far Eastern University (FEU), the Ateneo Blue Eagles are looking sharp as ever as they take on cellar-dwellers University of the East (UE) Red Warriors in the UAAP men's basketball tournament on Wednesday, October 24.
The Red Warriors were among the victims to the Blue Eagles' series of blowout wins in the first round as the defending champions rolled past their opponents for a five-game winning streak.
Despite losing Raffy Verano then to injury, Ateneo got all fired up to win the game in lopsided fashion, 89-62.
But with all the surprises in the league, the Katipunan-based squad doesn't plan to take it easy against the Alvin Pasaol-led squad in the 2 pm match at the Araneta Coliseum.
"As you’ve seen throughout the league, any other team can win against any other team on any given night. We just have to make sure that we keep our eyes focused on the next game, which is UE," said Ateneo deputy coach Sandy Arespacochaga.
"That’s gonna be the same mentality that we’re gonna bring. The same focus that we brought into this game, we’ll bring it on Wednesday."
Arespacochaga is right because Pasaol is getting more explosive as the season goes on. The league's topscorer now averages a double-double of 24.2 points and 10.8 rebound per game.
Ateneo's two-way veteran player Thirdy Ravena returns from a one-game suspension as he tries to to lead the Blue Eagles (7-2 win-loss record) to an eighth victory for the solo lead. (READ: Kobe Paras calls out UAAP for Thirdy Ravena disqualification)
The Red Warriors (1-8) need to step up their defense as Ateneo's rookie sensation Angelo Kouame will be coming off a historic 33-point-27-rebound outing against the Tamaraws. (READ: Isaac Go: Kouame pushes Ateneo to be better)
UE also needs to come out more aggressive after allowing opponents to score an average of 34.9 points in the paint and also tallying a league-low of 50.1 boards per game.
Not all hope is lost, though, as two teams showed that it's possible to take down the defending champions. (READ: Adamson stuns defending champ Ateneo in season opener and FEU stuns Ateneo in UAAP thriller)
And the Red Warriors, too, already proved they can pull off a monumental upset against a league heavyweight. (READ: UE shocks FEU to crash into UAAP win column) – Rappler.com