MANILA, Philippines – Defending champion Ateneo kicks off its title defense against National University during the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament opener on September 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Eagles, who regained the championship crown from the University of the Philippines in Season 85 last December, will headline the opening day of Season 86, which this year is hosted by the University of the East and has the theme “Fueling the Future.” . ”
Ateneo will face last season’s semifinalist and bronze medalist at 4 p.m
Meanwhile, coach Pido Jarencio makes his UAAP comeback after ten years when the University of Santo Tomas battles hosts UE at 2pm to raise the curtains on the new season.
Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin begins life without graduates Ange Kouame, Dave Ildefonso and BJ Andrade, as well as Forthsky Padrigao, who have already left the school.
Without key pieces from their championship run, the four-time UAAP champion coach will rely on prized recruit Mason Amos to join holdovers Gab Gomez, Kai Balunggay and Sean Quivis.
The Blue Eagles will face an intact Bulldogs squad, led by Jake Figueroa. Omar John, Mike Malonzo, Steve Nash Enriquez and Kean Baclaan and coach Jeff Napa’s new additions, Rein Jumamoy and Mark Parks, brother of former NU star and Gilas member Ray.
Meanwhile, the reloaded University of the Philippines will make its season debut against Adamson on October 1 at 4 p.m.
After a second-place finish last season and the loss of Carl Tamayo, Zavier Lucero, James Spencer and Henry Galinato, coach Goldwin Monteverde will usher in a new era with Francis Lopez, Seven Gagate, Luis Pablo and Sean Alter, as well as the transfer Janjan. Felicilda and Reyland Torres.
The Fighting Maroons also feature reigning MVP Malick Diouf and fellow holdovers JD Cagulangan, Harold Alarcon and the returning CJ Cansino as they battle the Falcons, whose star Jerom Lastimosa suffered an injury in preseason ahead of coach’s third season Nash Racela that came from a final. Four performances last year.
Topex Robinson will also make his UAAP head coaching debut on Oct. 1 when La Salle faces Far Eastern University at 2 p.m. FEU is also under a new tactician in Denok Miranda.
The women’s basketball tournament also kicks off Oct. 1 with second-place La Salle and FEU clashing at 9 a.m. at MOA Arena, followed by the Adamson-UP game at 11 a.m.
The NU Lady Bulldogs open their title campaign at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion against Ateneo at 3 p.m., while the Tigresses take on UE on their home court at 1 p.m.
The league has not yet released the full Season 86 schedule.