“But then again, we would want that. We want that tag that UP doesn’t stand a chance against Ateneo,” Perasol said. “The courage, the resilience, our feeling that we need to keep moving and keep fighting no matter what the odds are. That had been our team principle.”Ateneo, meanwhile, refuses to see their No. 1 seed as an edge.“In the finals, your record in the elimination round is not a factor anymore,” said assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga. “We finished as No. 1 but that doesn’t mean we’re still the No. 1 team [in the] Finals.”“We’ve reset [our mentality]. Our attitude heading into the finals is that we cannot take this UP team for granted,” he added. “They certainly deserve to be in the finals. They had an excellent last two games. That certainly helped them become tougher heading into the [series].”The Eagles, in fact, don’t even want to ride on the whole defending champion label.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ “[The label] doesn’t help us in any way, it doesn’t benefit us … We don’t worry about what other people say. We worry about playing through basketball and just trying to live up to our potential,” said head coach Tab Baldwin.Ateneo went on an undefeated run in the second round before dismissing Far Eastern U in the Final Four.With Angelo Kouame, Thirdy Ravena, and a host of effective complementary players, the Blue Eagles have looked like a seamless singularity on the floor. Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew UP takes the gold as UAAP 81 top story ‘Mia’: Rom-com with a cause a career-boosting showcase for Coleen Garcia Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netIt has been long established: Ateneo has been virtually an immovable object in UAAP Season 81, its losses in the elimination round viewed as aberrations more than anything else. And as the curtains are lifted off the men’s basketball championship series, there is no unstoppable force rushing to meet the Blue Eagles.But there is a rising tide, and University of the Philippines relishes taking on that role.ADVERTISEMENT Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum View comments Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. LATEST STORIES Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award No.13 lucky for Orlando Bloom After winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk UP, after all, has been taking down hurdle after hurdle this season, that Maroons coach Bo Perasol doesn’t mind taking on another one.“No basketball aficionado in his right mind would probably give us a good chance,” Perasol said of the duel against Ateneo that kicks off Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Mall of Asia Arena.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissBut few gave the Maroons a chance, too, against No. 2 Adamson and its twice-to-beat edge. But UP still stands, adding at least a couple more games to what’s already a remarkable season, where it barged into the Finals for the first time in 32 years.They have dubbed the championship duel as “The Battle of Katipunan” and fittingly, it opens a day after the country celebrated the supreme Katipunero, Andres Bonifacio. In reality, though, it’s hardly a battle as it is a test to see how far UP has come since getting swept in the elimination round by Ateneo. Battles are fought on even terms but the odds weigh heavily against the Maroons in this one.