Home Editors' Picks Ateneo and FEU battle for early UAAP lead today

Ateneo and FEU battle for early UAAP lead today

By John Bryan Ulanday

THREE-TIME title holder Ateneo puts its 27-game win streak on the line against last tormentor Far Eastern University (FEU) in a clash for early leadership in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 84 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The Eagles last tasted a loss (63-60) in the UAAP against the Tamaraws back in October 2018 before going on a 10-game sweep of the rest of Season 81 and scoring a 16-0 wipeout of the entire Season 82 to complete a three-peat.

Nearly four years later, the Eagles meet the Tamaraws anew at 1 p.m. with hopes of sustaining a steady drive to a fourth consecutive title in the compressed season under a bubble setup due to the pandemic.

Host La Salle and National University (NU) also shoot for joint lead at 4 p.m. with the winner of Ateneo-FEU tussle as University of the Philippines (UP) and University of Santo Tomas (UST) bid for first win at 7 p.m. In the curtain-raiser at 10 a.m., Adamson and UE seek to barge into the winner’s circle as well.

The Eagles over the weekend have extended their run to 27 straight games following their 90-81 triumph over UP but against FEU, coach Tab Baldwin warned a tall order for win No. 28.

“They look comfortable playing the game together. They look at ease. If there’s anybody that I’ve seen so far that looks almost in mid-season form, FEU really looks that way,” said Mr. Baldwin as FEU scored the UAAP’s biggest win so far against Santo Tomas, 76-51.

FEU mentor Olsen Racela expects the same from the Eagles as the Tamaraws’ early test in the UAAP’s compressed four-game, three-day slates a week.

Super rookie RJ Abarrientos will lead FEU’s upset bid after a scintillating debut in their 25-point victory against Dave Ildefonso, who returned to Ateneo from NU with a bang in their win against UP.