Defending champion FEU will be a man down on Saturday in a rematch of last year’s finals with host UST as wingman Ron Dennison will serve a one-game suspension in the resumption of the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball action at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 5-foot-10 Dennison was tossed out due to to a disqualifying foul late in FEU’s hard-earned 51-49 win over UP over the weekend for apparently hitting the groin of Fighting Maroons counterpart and former high school teammate Paul Desiderio with a closed fist.
FEU’s team management made an appeal to downgrade the call but UAAP commissioner Rebo Saguisag upheld it, making Dennison unavailable in the Tamaraws’ 4 p.m. showdown with the Growling Tigers.
While he momentarily loses one of the team’s top defenders, FEU coach Nash Racela remains confident that he has enough tools left in their bid to extend their winning streak to three and claim a share of second spot with Ateneo (4-2).
“We will definitely miss his defense. But we are confident with our other players. Hoepfully our team defense will make it tough for UST,” Racela told FOX Sports in an SMS message.
While they are favored over the Growling Tigers who are smarting from a 7-point loss to National U last week, Racela has opted to keep his focus on whipping the Tamaraws to become a more cohesive unit.
“We expected an up and down season for us, and every game we always tell our players that it’s not going to be easy. Because of our struggles, I think we’ll spend more time on ourselves, really correcting things and hopefully we come out better after a few days,” he added. — By Jerome Lagunzad