MANILA -- Far Eastern University-Diliman sets in motion its bid for back-to-back titles in the UAAP Season 86 boys' basketball tournament on Tuesday at the Amoranto Sports Complex in Quezon City.
The Baby Tamaraws will be up against National University-Nazareth School, with tip-off scheduled at 10:00 a.m.
FEU-Diliman had dethroned the Bullpups in the Season 85 Final 4, before sweeping Adamson in the Finals. With JR Pasaol and Luke Felipe graduating, FEU-D will lean on the trio of Dwyne Miranda, Veejay Pre, and Jedric Daa for its title defense.
NU-Nazareth aso reloaded in the offseason. Nigerian big man Collins Akowe, who carried the Bullpups to an eight-game sweep of the UCBL Inter-Secondary Tournament, will man the paint for the Bullpups. Elijah Yusi is also expected to fill the shoes left by last season’s Most Valuable Player Reinhard Jumamoy.
In the 2 p.m. game, Mike Fermin’s Baby Falcons take on the UST Tiger Cubs.Grade 12 seniors Carlo Bonzalida, Vince Reyes, and Justine Garcia will lead Adamson’s quest for the crown this time around.
They are going up against a UST team though that retooled during the off-season. Tapping a new head coach in Manu Iñigo, the Tiger Cubs, who won the Ballout and City Hoops preseason championships, scored key transferees from San Beda-Taytay, headlined by Gilas Youth standouts Nathan Velasquez and Joaquin Ludovice.
Also transferring to UST were Andrei Dungo, Lanze Ronquillo, and Sam Reyes. Mark Llemit has already graduated and has completed his rookie season for the Growling Tigers.
Meanwhile, season-host University of the East will begin its campaign against De La Salle-Zobel at 12 p.m. New Junior Warriors head coach Karl Santos will debut an almost new squad when they square off against the Kieffer Alas-led Junior Archers.
Opening the hostilities is a clash between Ateneo High School and University of the Philippines Integrated School at 8:00 a.m.
DLSZ’s Alas will get ample support this time around in Bonn Daja while Ateneo’s Kristian Porter now has a frontcourt partner in Ziv Espinas.