1. Stand up to Rabeh. Ateneo center Rabeh Al-Hussaini, last season's Most Valuable Player, is the focal point of the Blue Eagles offense. He's a very talented, agile big man with soft touch from around the shaded lane. He is very tough to handle at the pivot. But he's also kind of a wuss.
When he's not in the mood, he's just content lofting shots from the perimeter rather than mixing it up with big boys down low. During Ateneo's game against UP, the Maroons' less-heralded big men successfully kept Al-Hussaini out of the paint. Most of his 17 points in that game came off jumpers in fact. With Al-Hussaini out of the paint, UP's guards were able to rotate back to the Eagles' shooters and bothered their three-point shots. Of course, Al-Hussaini could still end up killing a team with his jumpshooting, but Ateneo's better off with him getting 30 points off layups and putbacks.
2. Neutralize Nonoy. Ateneo has an awesome defense anchored on funneling everyone to defensive demon Nonoy Baclao. His presence makes it tough for opponents to score in the lane. That's why Baclao is as important to the team as Al-Hussaini. Against UP, however, Baclao did not have the same impact because UP's forwards made a concerted effort to shoot from the outside. Their outside shooting drew Baclao out of the paint, giving UP's guards easiers access to drive to the hoop.