The UST Growling Tigers defeated the twice-to-beat UP Fighting Maroons in their face game of ongoing UAAP Season 82 stepladder semifinals, setting up a winner-take-all affair on Wednesday.
The Espana-based squad will get to face a formidable UP team who emerged as one of the league’s top contenders especially after finishing as the runner-ups the last time around.
With both teams fielding in deep lineups, expect a full-blown chess match between renowned coaches in Aldin Ayo and Bo Perasol.
But first, FOX Sports Philippines gives you a quick preview on matchups to look out for in this epic tiff.
Kobe Paras vs. Rhenz Abando
Two of the tournament’s most explosive players will be tasked to carry their teams on their backs as they vie for a spot in the Finals against Ateneo. Kobe Paras and Rhenz Abando have similar playing styles despite having contrasting personal backgrounds.
Both of these wings possess a high vertical leap and can make a lot of things happen on both ends which usually spell trouble for their counterparts. While Abando has the edge in terms of outside shooting, Paras has a bigger frame and he can operate in the post where he can draw double teams.
Nonetheless, it will be exciting on how these two would match up and for sure we can expect a lot of highlight reel plays from them whenever they’re out in transition.
Ricci Rivero vs. Mark Nonoy
This should be an exciting matchup that will be the x-factor come Sunday, as Ricci Rivero and Mark Nonoy have proven to be versatile players for coaches Aldin Ayo and Bo Perasol. Both of these cagers are very athletic, plus they have the basketball IQ to complement that too.
Rivero and Nonoy are also exciting to watch in the fast break as both guards can really push the tempo for quick and easy scores. Ricci Rivero may have the edge in terms of experience and outside shooting, Nonoy is no slouch himself as he’s an underrated passer and defender.
Both are expected to be the spark plugs for their respective teams and pundits should monitor the production of these two guards.
Bright Akhuetie vs. Soulemane Chabi Yo
Perhaps this will be the match up that will determine who’s the winner come Sunday as these two UAAP MVPs are set to face off in what will be a gargantuan matchup.
Both of these big men have been instrumental to their squad’s campaign as they would be their vital pieces in the interior where they made their most impact. Along with their impeccable finishing ability down the block, Akhuetie and Chabi Yo can put the ball on the floor in order to keep defenses honest.
Their respective productions should cancel each other out, but whoever gets the edge over the other should give their team a better chance of winning.
(Images from UAAP)