Tams out to test Tigers; Archers go up vs Maroons

MANILA, Philippines - Far Eastern U Tamaraws train their sights on dangerous University of Santo Tomas today when the opening weekend victors aim to make it two-in-a-row in the UAAP Season 78 men's basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Tams, who routed the Ateneo Blue Eagles, 88-64, in Saturday's inaugurals, battle the Tigers, who edged the Adamson Falcons, 70-64, in the 4 p.m. main game of a twinbill also featuring La Salle and host University of the Philippines in a similar dispute for a 2-0 card at 2 p.m.

The Green Archers immediately made their presence felt by foiling defending champion National U, 67-63, while the Fighting Maroons booked their first kickoff day win in four years at the expense of University of the East, 62-55.

FEU coach Nash Racela refused to consider their 24-point blowout of Ateneo as a "statement win," stressing the Tams are not really "thinking about the others" but are more "focused on the task at hand."

And the next immediate task is to hurdle UST, which also boasts of a seasoned core led by Ed Daquiaog and Kevin Ferrer, who exploded with 28 and 24, respectively, in the Tigers' initial victory, and Karim Abdul, who has yet to reach top peak.

"UST has a veteran core and I think they're 8-9-man deep so they're a tough team to play against. And if Abdul will get his timing back, it will be doubly hard for us," said Racela, whose squad will be led by Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy and Reymar Jose.

Meanwhile, National University routed De La Salle, 90-78, to open its bid for a second straight championship on a high note yesterday in the UAAP Season 78 women's basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Reigning MVP Afril Bernardino and Shelley Gupilan, vital cogs in the Philippines' promotion to Level 1 in the Fiba Asia Women's Championship, combined for 26 points as the Lady Bulldogs extended their winning run to 17 which dates back from last season.

"Even I'm away for one and a half months, I keep monitoring the team. I'm happy that the girls really wanted to win," said NU coach Patrick Aquino, who also handles the national team.

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