by Jonas Terrado
Games Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
2 p.m. – NU vs UP
4 p.m. – La Salle vs UE
National University is expected to keep its win streak going while La Salle, also on a roll, may have a fight in its hands when the two teams take on separate rivals at the resumption of the UAAP basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum today.
The NU Bulldogs are on top of the standings at 8-3 and face cellar-dweller University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons at 2 p.m.
A victory against the Maroons, winless in 10 games, will earn the Bulldogs a playoff berth in the Final Four.
The Green Archers, on the other hand, collide against University of the East whose fortunes are going south as the Red Warriors keep losing their cool resulting in the suspension of three players, including its star center Charles Mammie.
Also suspended is Ralf Olivares while Lord Casajeros is coming off a one-game suspension.
The La Salle-UE game is set at 4 p.m.
National U has won five straight games and is in unfamiliar territory. The former whipping boy of the UAAP, which in years past was lucky to win a game or two, has surpassed its expectations.
NU coach Eric Altamirano is trying not to make too much out of its current position.
Though they are No. 1, he said he’s more concerned about their coming games.
He echoed what most coaches say at this juncture: “We just have to take it one game at a time.”
NU has been blessed with the dynamic duo of foreign player Emmanuel Mbe and Bobby Ray Parks and a strong supporting cast that may finally earn NU a UAAP title since winning one in 1954.
But standing in its way are many other teams also determined to bring home the crown.
La Salle is one of them which also eyeing an end to a long drought and appears to finally put together a team of consequence.