The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons are raring to meet the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers on Sunday.
The second-seeded Fighting Maroons have the twice-to-beat advantage in their stepladder encounter with the Growling Tigers in the 82nd University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament.
Coach Bo Perasol said the team won’t waste time against the UST when they clash at 4 p.m. at the Araneta Coliseum.
“We are treating this game as a knockout game,” said Perasol.
The Growling Tigers have beaten the Fighting Maroons during the eliminations.
In the first round, UST came away with an 85-69 win over UP before pulling off an 84-78 triumph in the second round.
“In the two games that we had against them, they really outplayed us,” said Perasol.
The Growling Tigers come into the fight bearing the momentum they got after turning back the third-seeded Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 81-71.
UST has always been known to come from the bottom of the standings and reach the finals with important wins in the second round.
The Tigers were in the same situation back in 2015 when they reached the finals behind the pair of Kevin Ferrer and Ed Daquioag.
But the Maroons won’t be a pushover.
“The team will be complete. We need to address our lapses,” added Perasol.
Four key players are expected to make a difference for UP.
There’s Kobe Paras with his averages of 17.42 points, 5.67 rebounds, 1.92 assists and 1.35 blocks.
Support for Paras will revolve mainly around Bright Akhuetie, Javi Gomez de Liano and June Manzo.
Akhuetie can deliver 14.25 points per game, to go with norms of 11.64 rebounds, 2.07 assists and 1.57 steals.