Archers, Eagles renew UAAP rivalry after over 2 years

Games Saturday
(Mall of Asia Arena)
10 am – FEU vs NU
1 pm – EU vs UP
4 pm – UST vs ADU
7 pm – ADMU vs DLSU

MANILA, Philippines – And they meet again.

Nearly three years since their last duel, Ateneo and La Salle rekindle their storied rivalry albeit under an entirely different bubble environment in a tussle for the lone lead in the UAAP Season 84 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The unbeaten Blue Eagles and the Green Archers for the first time will play in a unique battlefield without their legion of fans as the UAAP will only start to accommodate in-game crowd starting on Tuesday according to its official announcement Friday.

But for both squads, the competition blaze remains the same with a chance for three-time defending champion Ateneo (3-0) to stretch its perfect run to 30 straight games versus a La Salle side (3-0) seeking to end it for good.

Only one will succeed in that mission and stand untouched after their main event at 7 pm Serving as undercards are the matches of FEU-NU at 10 am, UE-UP at 1 pm and Santo Tomas-Adamson at 4 pm

“To us, there’s no such thing as a 30-game winning streak. That’s for you guys in the media and for people to like the hype stories that really don’t matter to our team. What really matters is to prepare and play against La Salle and those kinds of things take care of themselves, ”said coach Tab Baldwin after Ateneo’s 78-47 blowout of Adamson.

Ateneo last absorbed a loss in 2018 against FEU. Since then, it has gone on to capture three straight crowns including a 77-69 win against La Salle in their last duel in 2019 as part of their 16-0 sweep of Season 82 prior to the pandemic.

Baldwin said that’s already a thing of the past including the Blue Eagles’ 3-0 season start to extend their winning spree to 29 games.

“We just know that good things happen when you keep preparing. When you keep playing to win games, you know the next game that we’re not interested in the championship and we’re not interested in our record. We’re just interested in La Salle, ”he added.

Season host La Salle assures its readiness for the challenge of standing toe-to-toe with the league’s yardstick for three seasons and counting.

“We know for a fact that Ateneo is the team to beat here. They’re the barometer. They’re very well-coached and that they’re giving teams problems so hopefully we’ll be able to solve that when we meet them, ”said coach Derrick Pumaren after La Salle fended off FEU, 75-65.

NOTE: Tickets for the fully vaccinated fans will be available today for the games starting on Tuesday as the league welcomes the return of spectators under a limited capacity for now.

Health and safety protocols that include the wearing of masks and social distancing will be implemented inside the arena.

“Our priority is the health and safety of our student athletes and minimizing the risks of COVID-19. After discussions with our health officers and putting a few additional protocols in place, we are now ready to have fans back in the arena. The UAAP is a competition best experienced with students and alumni supporting their respective schools, ”said UAAP president Nonong Calanog.

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