No reason for NU to take skidding UST lightly, says Eric Altamirano

23-metre buzzer beater from USA’s Matt Millett at Special Olympics

Reeling from back-to-back losses against defending champion FEU, NU intends to get back on track and boost its Final Four hopes on Saturday when the Bulldogs take on free-falling host UST in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tourney at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Tied with Ateneo at third spot with similar 4-4 marks, NU is eager to rediscover its sharp form in their 4 p.m. showdown with a Growling Tigers side currently on a downward spiral with 5 straight losses for a woeful 2-7 record.

While the Bulldogs are favored to repeat a 75-68 win over the Growling Tigers in their first-round meeting last Sept. 25, NU coach Eric Altamirano admitted his wards still have no reason to take UST lightly.

“We can not overlook UST. Every game for us is important especially in the second round,” he said in an SMS message sent to FOX Sports on Friday. “I expect the boys to play hard and give our very best against UST.”

All eyes will be on gunner J-Jay Alejandro and Cameroon import Alfred Aroga, who are expected to take turns in delivering the goods for NU, with the likes of Matt Salem, Rev Diputado and JV Gallego out to provide ample support.

Tipped to lead the way for UST are veterans Louie Vigil, Jon Sheriff, Marvin Lee and Ghanaian import William Afoakwah. — By Jerome Lagunzad