MANILA – The Ateneo Blue Eagles may have a better record than the De La Salle Green Archers right now, but this does not mean they have any advantage over the defending champions, says head coach Bo Perasol.
The Blue Eagles are 1-0 after the first week of the UAAP Season 77 tournament, beating the Adamson Falcons in their first game of the season. Meanwhile, the Green Archers were upset by Far Eastern University and are currently at the bottom half of the standings at 0-1.
Perasol did not mince words when asked about Ateneo's chances against La Salle when the arch-rivals meet for the first time this season next Sunday, however.
"Wala, walang ka-edge-edge ang Ateneo against La Salle," Perasol said. "Kahit anong tingnan mo, kahit anong position."
"When it comes to La Salle against Ateneo, it's going to be a different ball game," he added.
"But when you consider the facts, I don't think any basketball aficionado will give us a chance against La Salle."
La Salle, with its championship core intact and with promising rookies in its line-up, is the favorite to win the UAAP title again. They also won both of their games against Ateneo last season.
In contrast, Ateneo's goal is more modest, as they seek to return to the Final Four after missing the post-season last year.
Ateneo guard Kiefer Ravena, who scored 22 points against Adamson, said they will have to work even harder if they hope to hand La Salle a second consecutive loss.
"This is a good stepping stone for next Sunday's game against the defending champions," Ravena said of their win against the Soaring Falcons. "I think we really have to work on that and focus."
"The things that we did this afternoon, we have to at least double the effort, double everything, because we know that we're going against the champs," he added.
La Salle coach Juno Sauler had admitted that he did not know much about the Blue Eagles entering the season, as Ateneo did not participate in any summer tournaments. He was at the Araneta Coliseum during the Ateneo-Adamson game, however, to scout their rivals.