UP, Ateneo tagged as teams to beat in UAAP Season 85 men's basketball

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 28) — University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, as expected, were labeled as one of the teams to beat in the upcoming UAAP Season 85.

The Fighting Maroons ended their 36-year title drought in men's seniors basketball after beating the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles in a thrilling best-of-three championship series in Season 84.

Nearly all the seven other schools picked UP as the team that must be toppled to capture the crown.

Fighting Maroons coach Goldwin Monteverde, however, downplayed their status by implying everybody has a clear path to win the championship.

"Winning a championship last season doesn't mean this season, it's a sure thing," he said in a press conference Wednesday.

Ateneo mentor Tab Baldwin solely chose the Fighting Maroons as his team to beat, while Far Eastern University coach Olsen Racela and National University (NU) coach Jeff Napa both named UP and the Blue Eagles when asked the same thing.

Adamson University coach Nash Racela also chose the Fighting Maroons and Ateneo as the favorites, but added that De La Salle University and NU could also be considered as contenders.

Meanwhile, La Salle coach Derick Pumaren and University of the East assistant coach Don Allado said all the schools in the UAAP will put up a good fight in the new season.

For University of Santo Tomas assistant coach Rodney Santos, he's confident his team is the top contender in Season 85.

UP will begin its title retention quest against La Salle on Oct. 1 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.