MANILA, Philippines – The De La Salle Green Archers will put their four-game winning streak on the line when they face off against the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers in a rematch of the UAAP Season 76 men's basketball finals.
La Salle memorably beat UST in three games last season, and the defending champions have now found their footing after opening their title defense with back-to-back losses.
"I think we're playing better, but not because of the (four-game) winning streak," said La Salle coach Juno Sauler after the Green Archers defeated University of the Philippines last week. "It's not because of the wins."
"We're playing better now that how we did at the start of the season," he added.
La Salle's 74-53 rout of UP – which saw last season's Finals MVP Jeron Teng fire a season-high 25 points – put their record at 4-2 going into their highly anticipated showdown against the Growling Tigers.
UST saw their three-game winning streak snapped in heart-breaking fashion last Wednesday when Ateneo guard Kiefer Ravena burned them with a game-winning jumper, putting their record at 3-2.
It was a painful loss for the Tigers, leading veteran center Karim Abdul to lash out in frustration at some of his teammates, including guard Ed Daquioag, who was defending Ravena in the final play and was supposed to foul the Ateneo guard.
Game time is at 4:00 p.m.
In the first game, the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors are looking to end a three-game slump against the Ateneo Blue Eagles, who are aiming to take the top spot in the league standings at the end of the first round.
Ateneo currently sits at solo first with a 5-1 record, while UE has sank down to 2-3 after winning their first two games of the season.
Game time is at 2:00 p.m.