No, The Ateneo Blue Eagles Is Not The Team To Beat In UAAP Season 81
This was the team that emerged as the toughest team to beat in the men's basketball tournament of the upcoming season of the UAAP, according to players of the collegiate league's other member schools. We can't blame them, though, since the Blue Eagles have proven themselves to be a powerhouse since dethroning then-defending champions DLSU Green Archers to win the most coveted title in the last season.
But the Katipunan-based squad's big man Isaac Go thinks otherwise. "You really can’t say who’ll make it [this] year," he told MYX. "A lot of things can happen such as injuries, other teams can better all of a sudden, other teams having great games, others bad days which can affect the standings so you really can’t say it as early as now." Guard-forward Raffy Verano, on the other hand, stressed that it would be a challenge for Ateneo this season 81 since they have "a target on [their] backs."
Despite the threat that the Blue Eagles poses, UE Red Warriors veteran Alvin Pasaol is putting his trust on their new head coach Joe Silva—who led the Blue Eaglets to two championships before handing in his resignation—to take the team at par with the Blue Eagles. “Sila yung barometer namin. Kelangan namin sila tapatan. May bago naman kaming head coach na galing Ateneo so alam nya na kung ano gagawin."
“We both know how strong [Ateneo is] as a team [on] both sides, offense and defense," said Shaun Ildefonso of the NU Bulldogs. "But we can assure you that magwo-work kami extra hard to give it all in the court."
Meanwhile, the UST Growling Tigers—whose lone win from season 80 make them this year's underdogs—vows to growl louder and prouder. When asked what changed within the squad after coaching changes, returning player Renzo Subido said, "Yung cohesiveness namin as a team kasi with Coach Aldin [Ayo]’s system, it brought everyone together, to work hard as a team."
With each team's renewed vigor and hunger to win the championship title, everyone's basically the "team to beat."
UAAP Season 81 kicks off tomorrow, September 8 at the Mall of Asia Arena. James Reid, Spongecola, and former 2NE1 member Minzy will perform at the storied league's opening ceremony while Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is also set to make a guest appearance.