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Reloaded Adamson meets rebuilding UP

By Josiah Albelda Posted Jun 30th 2013

UAAP Season 76 host Adamson University begins its campaign against rebuilding University of the Philippines.

Season host Adamson University opens its campaign in the 76th UAAP men's basketball tournament when they tackle University of the Philippines at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Soaring Falcons will be heavily favored against the Fighting Maroons, who will be parading seven rookies as they go into full rebuilding mode.

But coach Leo Austria remains cautious.

"The opening game is always the toughest one to win," he said. "Any team can beat any team. I'm excited that we can beat any team. But I'm nervous that any team can beat us, too."

Austria, though, has a lot more weapons to flaunt than the Diliman-based squad can, what with wingman Jericho Cruz showing a lot of promise during the preseason.

Cruz, who took over the spot vacated by Alex Nuyles when he suffered a season-ending injury in 2012, will be banked on to spearhead the Falcons' bid for a Final Four slot in the tournament.

He will be joined by the highly-touted big man tandem of Ingrid Sewa and Rodney Brondial.

On the other hand, UP coach Ricky Dandan admits that the Maroons are the clear underdogs of the UAAP, but stressed that they will fight on despite the limitations.

"We can all agree that we are the underdogs," he said. "But the fighting is back in the Maroons and we will treat every game as one we want and need to win."

If there's anything good going for Dandan, it is the recovery of electric point guard Henry Asilum, whose injured shoulder finally healed just in time for the opening.

"He's good to go," the coach said. "The doctors have already cleared him."

Prodigal son Sam Marata also makes his debut for UP in the seniors division while Mikee Reyes returns to action after a two-year absence due to injury.

The game will air live on Studio 23, BALLS HD 167,, TFC Bro and with a same day replay at 8 p.m. on BALLS SkyCable channel 34 or Destiny Cable channel 36.