Ate­neo hopes to match wildly ex­cited U.P. crowd

Sun Star Bacolod - - Sports -

ATE­NEO deputy coach Sandy Ares­pa­cochaga ex­pe­ri­enced first hand how the Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines’ rau­cous fans boosted the Fight­ing Ma­roons’ bid to up­set the No. 2 Adam­son Fal­cons in the UAAP Fi­nal Four.

So the Blue Ea­gles are brac­ing to face an even more ex­cited UP crowd when the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons and the Ma­roons kick off the best-of-three cham­pi­onship se­ries on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 1, at 3:30 pm at the Mall of Asia Arena.

But Ares­pa­cochaga, who was do­ing his scout­ing du­ties dur­ing the Upa­dam­son over­time semis thriller, hopes the fans of the blue and white will come through for the his­toric “Bat­tle of Katipunan.”

“It will be nice to have the stu­dents, the fac­ulty, staff and alumni from Ate­neo to watch the game, not just be­cause we need the sup­port, but it would be nice for them to ex­pe­ri­ence the games first-hand,” said Ares­pa­cochaga.

“When you’re live, you are ac­tu­ally part of the game, so it’s dif­fer­ent – ev­ery cheer and ev­ery ap­plause could be felt and heard by the team so it would be a great ex­pe­ri­ence for peo­ple to watch games.”

The Fight­ing Ma­roons have been rid­ing on high emo­tions – fu­eled by the thun­der­ing cheers res­onat­ing from a sea of ma­roon in the gallery – dur­ing the Fi­nal Four games where the un­der­dogs over­came the twiceto-beat ad­van­tage of No. 2 Adam­son to book a best-ofthree Fi­nals se­ries against Ate­neo.

“We were half en­joy­ing it and half try­ing to work and scout,” said Ares­pa­cochaga, not­ing how the crowd played a key role in the thrilling do-or-die game last Wed­nes­day, No­vem­ber 28.

Although the Blue Ea­gles went un­de­feated in the se­cond round and fin­ished off the Far East­ern Uni­ver­sity Ta­ma­raws in one semis game, they ex­pect the Ma­roons to put up a solid fight.

“We have to make sure that we don’t back down phys­i­cally,” said Ares­pa­cochaga./rap­

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