The Ateneo Blue Eagles have been in hot water at the end of the first round, right after bowing down to their rivals La Salle. Rumors of replacing their head coach spread like wildfire, but it has since been put out by Ateneo President Fr. Jett. Villarin, SJ. In a statement addressed to the Ateneo community, he said that Coach Bo Perasol is here to stay and that the school management remains supportive of him.
The Blue Eagles (4-3) will battle it out with the FEU Tamaraws (6-1) to open the second round. Being pitted against the team that handed them their worst loss so far does not bode well for Ateneo.
In their first encounter, the Eagles were held to only 82.3 points per 100 while FEU easily produced 113.2. Ateneo has shown improvements since that opening nightmare but the Tamaraws have also proven to be more unstoppable since then.
The Katipunan squad’s weak defense will once again be tested as they try to contain four players who are in the top 7 in terms of Player Efficiency Rating (PER): Mac Belo (29.7, 3rd), Raymar Jose (29.6, 4th), Roger Pogoy (26.2, 6th), and Mike Tolomia (26.0, 7th).
Leading MVP contender Kiefer Ravena (24.9 PER, 8th) will be placed under the microscope as usual as he attempts to redeem himself from last game’s blunders. His true shooting percentage of 39.2 percent (from 46.2 last season) has been disappointing, especially given the high amount of team possessions he uses (32.6 USG%). How he bounces back from this slump is something to watch out for.
Former Baby Tam Jerie Pingoy, who just came from his best collegiate game yet, will have to continue helping Kiefer and Matt Nieto in dishing dimes and facilitating plays for Ateneo. They also need to play solid perimeter defense, alongside Von Pessumal, to counter FEU’s hot outside shooting (number one in the league). Chibueze Ikeh and Ponso Gotladera, meanwhile, should work double time in grabbing boards, another one of the Tamaraws’ biggest strengths.
A win for Ateneo will not only calm down the blue and white community but also re-energize the team as they move forward to the tough times ahead.
|TV: LIVE ON ABS-CBN SPORTS AND ACTION|
|TIME: 11:00 AM|
|VENUE: SMART-ARANETA COLISEUM|