Entertaining thoughts about beating powerhouse La Salle is enough for current Adamson assistant coach Renren Ritualo to feel “weird.”
After all, the six-foot Ritualo served as the main driving force in La Salle’s four-peat romp in the UAAP from 1998 to 2001 under multi-titled mentor Franz Pumaren.
But on Saturday, Ritualo and Pumaren will be on the opposing end as Adamson takes on La Salle in one of the most anticipated match-ups in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“We’re very excited and we’re looking forward to our game tomorrow,” Ritualo, 37, told FOX Sports on Friday after serving his duty as TV analyst during in Mapua-Perpetual Help clash in the 92nd NCAA seniors basketball tourney at The Arena in San Juan City.
One of only two former Green Archers who have their jerseys retired by La Salle, Ritualo said the Soaring Falcons, running at second spot with a 3-1 mark, have prepared really hard against the favored Green Archers, still unbeaten after four starts.
“Siyempre basketball ‘yan and we’re gonna do our best best na makapanalo against La Salle. Pero parang weird ‘no?” he asked before bursting into laughter.
“”Its kinda weird, medyo weird na masasabi ko ang bagay na ‘yan.”
Asked if he’s bracing himself if the cheers will be turned into jeers, Ritualo said: “Wala tayong boo. Hindi tayo ibu-boo ng La Salle (crowd) for sure.”
Ritualo added the Soaring Falcons are clearly the underdogs against the talent-laden Green Archers.
“Malakas talaga sila. They’re 16-man deep. Everybody can start, everybody can play. Mabigat talaga kalaban ang La Salle ngayon,” he said.
Aside from Ritualo, the familiar faces among La Sallians on the Adamson side are Pumaren, assistant coaches Jack Santiago, Tonichi Yturri and Don Allado, who’s also a former Green Archers star and a two-time UAAP MVP.
“We’re really looking forward on facing them this season. And we make sure na ready ang Adamson for our game tomorrow,” said Ritualo. – Jerome Lagunzad
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