UAAP set for explosive opening at MOA Arena

By TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 09 2012 07:51 PM | Updated as of Jul 10 2012 07:55 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The long wait is over for Season 75 of the UAAP as it comes back with fireworks on July 14, with host school National University(NU) holding the explosive ceremonies at a new venue: the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Much is expected from the MOA Arena, which has been branded as an NBA-style arena that can accommodate more than 14,000 paying patrons. It is expected to be packed to the rafters on opening date, especially with the NU Bulldogs seeing action in the first game of the season.

Once again, all eyes will be on the Ateneo Blue Eagles, as the four-time defending champions are gunning for their fifth straight title.

The Blue Eagles are still considered the team to beat, thanks to their intact line-up led by Greg Slaughter, Nico Salva, Kiefer Ravena and the come-backing Ryan Buenafe.

It will also be an interesting season for the Blue Eagles, as it will be Coach Norman Black’s last season as the teams’ head coach, regardless of whether or not they win the championship.

Meanwhile, Ateneo’s archrivals De La Salle University has also beefed up its line-up and its coaching staff. The acquisition of hotshot rookie Jeron Teng, who once scored over 100 points in a high school game, is a big boost to the Green Archers as they aim to make it to the Final Four.

The Archers will also be parading a new head coach in Gee Abanilla, who led La Salle to a runner-up finish in the Fil-Oil Flying V Pre-Season tournament.

But the NU Bulldogs are also among the teams to watch as they parade one of their best line-ups in the school’s history.

Reigning Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks Jr. and former Mythical Five member Emmanuel Mbe are back, along with a mostly intact line-up that will be giving a lot of UAAP teams a tough time.

Coach Eric Altamirano admits that there is a lot of pressure on his team, but he is happy that the Bulldogs have shown that they are focused on the upcoming season.

The UAAP Season 75 will kick off this weekend, on July 14, with the grand opening ceremonies set at 1 p.m., followed by the first game, which will feature NU against the University of the East.

This season also marks the first time that all the games will be aired live on The Filipino Channel worldwide, as well as on Studio 23 and Balls Channel HD on Sky Cable. Primetime replays are also available every day on Balls Channel, and a Game of the Week will be replayed on Saturday at Studio 23.

Coaches from different schools gather on Monday during a press conference for the opening of the 75th Season of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. They are, left to right, UE coach Jerry Codiñera, UP coach Ricky Dandan, Adamson coach Leo Austria, UST coach Pido Jarencio, FEU coach Bert Flores, La Salle coach Gee Abanilla, Ateneo coach Norman Black, and NU coach Eric Altamirano. Photo by Rem Zamora for