• Blue Eagles eye last twice-to-beat advantage

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    Ateneo De Manila University is aiming to bag the last twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four when it battles Adamson University in the last day of the elimination round of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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    The Blue Eagles, who are keen to stretch their winning run to six, will face the Falcons in the 4 p.m. game after the 2 p.m. match between reigning champion Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws and University of the East (UE) Red Warriors.

    The Blue Eagles, with a 9-4 win-loss record are coming off a 74-64 win over the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers on Saturday.

    Mike Nieto of Ateneo scores past Louie Vigil of UST during a UAAP men’s basketball elimination round game at the Mall of Asia Arena. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

    Mike Nieto of Ateneo scores past Louie Vigil of UST during a UAAP men’s basketball elimination round game at the Mall of Asia Arena. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

    “When we go up against Adamson, we need to play better basketball than what we played in our last game,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. “I think this is a learning season for our team and we just have to continue learning. We are in a position now that we can grab the twice-to-beat.”

    Ateneo will rely on Mike Nieto, Rafael Verano, Thirdy Ravena, Isaac Go, Anton Asistio and Adrian Wong in their attempt to bag the last twice-to-beat bonus.

    A win by the Falcons and the Tamaraws, on the other hand, will create a three-way tie for No. 2 in the Final Four. If Adamson loses, it will be No. 3.

    The Falcons with an 8-5 win-loss record is currently No.3.

    “We needed that win,” said Adamson coach Franz Pumaren, referring to the Falcons’ 77-53 victory over National University. “Like what I’ve mentioned I don’t sugarcoat anything. We are aiming to at least get a shot for that twice-to-beat advantage. The goal now is to beat Ateneo and get the tie.”

    “Basically, Ateneo is becoming competitive, they have good coaches and good recruits.”

    The Falcons will be banking on the talents of Cameroonian center Papi Sarr, Jonathan Espeleta, Robbie Manalang, Sean Manganti, Jerrick Ahan­misi, Kristian Bernardo and Simon Camacho when they battle the Blue Eagles.

    Meanwhile, FEU under coach Nash Racela aims to stop a three-game losing skid when it faces the already-eliminated UE squad. The Tamaraws and the Falcons are both carrying 8-5 win-loss records.

    FEU will be No.4 if it absorbed a sixth loss.

    The Red Warriors, for their part, are gunning for back-to-back wins though they are already out of the Final Four race.

    The Red Warriors under coach Derrick Pumaren are holding a 3-10 win-loss record.

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