THE University Athletic Association of the Philippines’ “Battle of Katipunan” rivalry is to played out today with the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons and Ateneo Blue Eagles taking on each other for the first time in Season 81.
Had a contrasting start to their respective campaigns, the Maroons (1-0) look to stay unblemished early in the season in their 4 p.m. encounter against the defending champions Eagles (0-1), out to bounce back from their opening-game loss, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Parading a souped-up lineup, UP used a strong second-half showing to run away and beat the University of the East Red Warriors, 87-58, on opening day on Sept. 8.
Juan Gomez De Liaño had solid all-around numbers of 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists while UAAP-debuting Bright Akhuetie, who previously paraded his wares in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, had a double-double of 15 points and 18 rebounds.
Jun Manzo, Paul Desiderio, and Javi Gomez De Liaño also finished in double-digits in scoring for the Maroons in the win, tallying 14, 12 and 10 points, respectively.
After a close opening half that was knotted at 33-all, UP surged in the second fold and never looked back on to the victory.
“It took us a while to figure things out but after talking to them at the halftime break the players adjusted and played that way they are capable of,” said UP coach Bo Perasol after their win.
“This is just the start for us and hopefully we could build on this victory,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ateneo seeks to rebound from its botched flight in its first game, losing 74-70 against the Adamson Soaring Falcons on Sept. 9 in their “avian clash.”
Had it cutthroat throughout the contest, the Eagles tried hard to get the better of the Falcons but just could not get the breaks in the end as they slumped to the defeat.
Matt Nieto led Ateneo with 21 points with Raffy Verano adding 10 points and eight rebounds.
Thirdy Ravena and Anton Asistio each had seven markers for the Eagles, who are coming off a solid preseason, including an impressive showing at the William Jones Cup in Taiwan.
“We’re looking at this (loss) as another challenge for us this season. We have to bounce back,” Ravena said following their tournament debut.
Playing before UP and Ateneo at 2 p.m. are the Far Eastern University Tamaraws (1-0) and University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers (0-1).
The Tamaraws are off a 68-61 win over the De La Salle Green Archers on Sept. 8 while UST bowed in its opener against season hosts National University Bulldogs, 75-70, on Sept. 9.
Meanwhile, Adamson’s Jerrick Ahanmisi was the first recipient of the UAAP player of the week award after leading the Falcons to their huge win over Ateneo.
Ahanmisi put up 23 points, going 8-of-17 on the floor, to go along with four rebounds to help the Falcons hold down the Eagles.
In winning the award, given by the league press corps, the Adamson junior beat out UP’s Juan Gomez De Liaño, NU’s Dave Ildefonso and FEU’s Arvin Tolentino — Michael Angelo S. Murillo