MANILA, Philippines - Red-hot University of Santo Tomas guns for a share of the lead today as it takes on winless University of the Philippines in the UAAP Season 75 men's basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Tigers, undefeated in their last four games after starting the season with a close setback to the FEU Tams, seek to keep the streak going against the Maroons (0-5) to join defending champion Ateneo and FEU in the lead.
"We're running smoothly at this point. I know which player to use at a particular point and the boys know the system well. More or less, it's a matter of fine-tuning," said UST coach Pido Jarencio in Filipino.
His wards enter the 4 p.m. match riding the crest of victories over Ateneo, National U, La Salle and University of the East.
"Our bench is a lot deeper now. I have the luxury of pulling players on the bench even up to the fourth quarter," he added.
UST's second stringers and backups should step up all the more today as injured star Jeric Teng is likely to sit it out for the second straight game. Last time around, Louie Vigil and Eduardo Daquiaog, along with Kevin Ferrer, stepped up to make up for Teng's absence.
Jarencio also cautioned his wards against letting their guards down against the Maroons.
"UP, it's a dangerous team. The Maroons are well-coached under a good system, and they have players who can explode anytime so we can't take it easy," he said.
But from the looks of things, the Diliman-based squad will need a lot of firepower and defense to neutralize and slow down the Tigers.
"The best thing about our situation is that we did not get much attention in the pre-tournament so there's no pressure for us. And now we're winning," Jarencio said.
Adamson (1-4) and UE (0-5) collide in the 2 p.m. opener, both aiming to get out of their respective slumps
In juniors action, defending champion NU and FEU-Diliman stormed to their sixth straight victories against UP Integrated School, 69-47, and Adamson, 80-59, respectively, at the Filoil Flying V Arena yesterday.
John Cauilan, Reggie Morido and Ralph Busa combined for 34 points for the Bullpups, who dominated the match throughout.