Eagles face old nemesis Bulldogs today

MANILA, Philippines - Ateneo seeks a long-due payback as it tries to put struggling defending champion National U into a deeper hole when they clash today in the UAAP Season 78 men's basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Blue Eagles (1-1), who have lost their last six matches to the Bulldogs the last two years, aim to finally put one in the 4 p.m. duel and hand the Sampaloc-based cagers their third straight loss of the tournament.

"Siguro (Maybe) it's our chance for redemption as we haven't beaten this team for the past two seasons," said AdMU captain Kiefer Ravena, still remembering the way the fourth-ranked Bulldogs toppled his No. 1 team with two victories in the Season 77 Final Four.

"It's something we have to really prepare forÂ…I think NU will come in very prepared and we don't want what happened last year to be repeated. I think that's enough motivation for me and the rest of the team to bounce back and play really well on Wednesday," he added.

The urgency to finally show up and get on track is not lost on the Bulldogs, who seem to be having difficulties finding their "identity" and adjusting to the absence of pro-bound Troy Rosario.

"The teams are really stepping up, so we need to step up, find a way to bring our game back," said NU coach Eric Altamirano.

After opening their defense with a 63-67 loss to La Salle, the Bulldogs fell prey to University of the East last Saturday, 71-76, to fall to joint seventh with Adamson.

"We just have to regroup. We just have to focus on things that helped us win. We're not playing the type of defense that we want to. Obviously, we tried to win it on offense," Altamirano said.

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