UAAP: La Salle bat­tles NU

Tempo - - Front Page - By JEROME LAGUNZAD

Sweet and bit­ter mem­o­ries of the past are set to be rekin­dled by Aldin Ayo and Jamike Jarin as they re­new their coach­ing ri­valry, with the UAAP Sea­son 80 men’s bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment serv­ing as their new bat­tle­ground.

Both coaches are ex­pected to hog the lime­light today when de­fend­ing cham­pion La Salle takes on a tal­ented Na­tional Univer­sity side in what prom­ises to be an explosive show­down for a piece of the early lead at the Smart-Araneta Coli­seum.

Game is set at 2 p.m., with the Green Archers ea­ger to pick up from where they left off fol­low­ing a 95-90 vic­tory over Far East­ern Univer­sity and the Bull­dogs rar­ing to do the same after scor­ing an 86-69 win over Univer­sity of the East over the weekend.

All eyes, how­ever, will be fo­cused on the side­lines as Ayo looks to re­assert his mas­tery over Jarin after lead­ing his alma mater Le­tran to a stun­ning con­quest of archri­val San Beda two years ago in one of the most en­ter­tain­ing NCAA finals se­ries in re­cent mem­ory.

But Ayo isn’t ea­ger to fur­ther build up the hype, say­ing: “Am I ex­cited? Hindi na­man. It’s just a reg­u­lar game.”

In con­trast, Jarin tried his best to up the ante – and add pres­sure to a Green Archers side which could only get stronger with the im­pend­ing re­turn of reign­ing league MVP Ben Mbala.

“We just need to ready our­selves for DLSU,” he said, prac­ti­cally urg­ing the Bull­dogs to em­brace the un­der­dogs’ tag. “Of course, they’re the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons. They’re a force to be reck­oned with and prob­a­bly the best col­le­giate team right now.”

Clash­ing in the main of­fer­ing at 4 o’clock are Adam­son and Univer­sity of Santo To­mas, both de­ter­mined to fi­nally get their re­spec­tive ti­tle bids go­ing.

The Soar­ing Fal­cons, hum­bled by the fast-star­ing Ate­neo Blue Ea­gles 85-65 the last time out, get a much needed shot in the arm with the re­turn of solid Cameroon im­port Papi Sarr who has re­cov­ered from a groin in­jury.

Stand­ing in the way of the 6-foot-6 Sarr is his com­pa­triot, 6-foot-8 Steve Akomo, who is tipped to pro­vide the Growl­ing Tigers the needed strength down low as they try to re­cover from a sting­ing one-point loss dealt by Univer­sity of the Philip­pines six days ago.

ALDIN Ayo

JAMIKE Jarin

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