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Sports

UAAP Season 85: Battle of Katipunan II?

John Bryan Ulanday - The Philippine Star
UAAP Season 85: Battle of Katipunan II?
Facing the media during the UAAP Season 85 launch, from left, are UE’s Don Allado, UST’s Rodney Santos, La Salle’s Derrick Pumaren, Adamson’s Nash Racela, UAAP executive director Rebo Saguisag, basketball commissioner Dickie Bachmann, UP’s Goldwin Monteverde, Ateneo’s Tab Baldwin, NU’s Jeff Napa and FEU’s Olsen Racela.
Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines — Once again, the UAAP might see a “Battle of Katipunan” finale with reigning champion University of the Philippines and Ateneo considered the heavy favorites for Season 85 starting this weekend.

The rest of the field hailed the Fighting Maroons and the Blue Eagles, the Season 84 title protagonists, as the teams to beat, with La Salle, National U and host Adamson as the darkhorses.

Last May, UP and Ateneo figured in a classic three-game finals series that ended on a last-second triple of JD Cagulangan lifting the Diliman-based squad to its first UAAP title since 1986.

UP’s historic win denied Ateneo a four-peat championship.

“It’s UP and Ateneo,” said coach Olsen Racela of Far Eastern U, which holds the longest active Final Four streak for eight seasons without a finals appearance since its last title in 2015.

UP’s Goldwin Monteverde and Ateneo’s Tab Baldwin, for their part, remain wary of the field given the better preparations of the teams with the return of preseason tournaments and overseas camps.

“Winning a championship last season doesn’t mean na ngayong season, sigurado na ‘yun. Sa amin, we just make sure that we’ll be ready and prepared,” said Monteverde in the UAAP presser yesterday ahead of the Saturday opener.

“We were both blessed and not blessed in our preparation. Obviously, the opportunity to travel overseas was really good but missing out on competing against our UAAP opponents is something that may come back to bite us a little bit,” said Baldwin.

In anticipation of a bigger mountain to climb this season, UP had a training camp in Japan while Ateneo trooped to Israel aside from winning the inaugural World University Basketball Series in Japan.

UAAP

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