FOR the first time since parting ways late last year, the De La Salle Green Archers will face off with former coach Aldin Ayo when they take on the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers in the curtain-raiser of University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 81 action today at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Led the Archers to the UAAP title in Season 79 on his first year of coaching La Salle, Mr. Ayo left the Taft-based school following last year’s campaign where they finished runner-up to coach UST, rendering their 2 p.m. encounter with another subplot to take note of.
The Archers (2-2) are coming off a 67-61 loss to the University of the Philippines on Sept. 30 that effectively ended their two-game ascent.
It was a close match between the two teams before La Salle lost some steam in the second half, allowing UP to get some leverage to book the victory.
Justine Baltazar led the Archers with 13 points, followed by Aljun Melecio and Santi Santillan with 12 points apiece.
It was not enough though to tow La Salle to the win over UP.
UST (1-3), meanwhile, is off a deeper hole, having lost back-to-back matches, the last one against Ateneo de Manila University, 85-53, on Sept. 29.
The Tigers were totally outplayed by the Eagles in said game despite getting 19 points from Renzo Subido and 15 from CJ Cansino.
Mr. Ayo said they are “taking the loss as men” and will try to bounce back against the Archers today even as he said that they will treat it as another game.
Following the La Salle-UST tiff is the matchup between the Far Eastern University Tamaraws (2-2) and National University Bulldogs (1-3) at 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, Sean Manganti of league-leading Adamson University was named UAAP Player Of the Week (POW) by the league press corps after helping the Falcons to two wins in a row last week to keep them spotless in the ongoing tournament.
Manganti thrust Adamson to the victory over UP, 69-68, on Sept. 26 after draining the winning basket with seventh-tenths of a second left on the clock.
He then followed it up with a 14-point, three-rebound, four-assist and two-steal effort against NU on Sept. 29 as the Falcons won, 63-58.
Despite his splendid play of late, the Adamson skipper said work continues for him and that hopefully he can continue helping the team.
“I just want to be consistent, help carry the team, and do everything to carry the team,” Manganti said.
In winning the weekly plum, Manganti beat out University of the East’s Alvin Pasaol, UP’s Bright Akhuetie, and Ateneo’s Angelo Kouame. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo