The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons held the Ateneo Blue Eagles to their average score in Game 1 and they hope to do even better in the second match of the 85th University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball finals.
The Fighting Maroons shoot for their first ever back-to-back crown in their 6 p.m. tussle against the Blue Eagles today at the Araneta Coliseum.
“Preparing for Ateneo, alam naman namin kung anong klaseng team ang Ateneo. Hindi naman tayo talaga puwede mag-relax,” said UP coach Goldwin Monteverde after they took Game 1 with a 72-66 win last Sunday.
The Maroons, who average 68.8 points per game, are close to retaining the crown for a second consecutive season, a feat which they have never done before.
But the Blue Eagles are hoping to bounce back and equalize in Game 2.
For Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin, solving the threat provided by UP’s six guards will help Ateneo get back on its feet.
“When they have those six guards, who are able to generate that kind of template for a game defensively, you’ve got to find counters,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin is crossing his fingers that his guard Forthsky Padrigao recovers from an ankle sprain as they try to force a deciding Game 3.
So far, the odds are stacked against the Blue Eagles, who have won 11 championships since 1987.
Of its 17 finals’ appearances since 1993, the Blue Eagles lost the crown twice after bowing in Game 1 in 2001 and 2003.