Far Eastern University (FEU) goes into a must-win game against Adamson University while National University (NU) and University of the Philippines (UP) collide in an equally crucial match as the fight for the last Final Four spot continues today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 80 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Tamaraws (6-7) need to overcome the formidable Soaring Falcons (9-4) in their 4 p.m. collision in order to secure the last semifinals seat.
Despite posting record 18 triples, Far Eastern U still lost to National U, 84-87, last Wednesday, a huge blow to its semifinals campaign.
But FEU rookie coach Olsen Racela remains upbeat of the host school’s chances of advancing into the post-season.
“It’s getting slimmer but we still have a chance. We just have to win on Saturday,” said Racela.
Getting the all-important victory, however, will be a tall order for the Tamaraws as they are up against the playoff-bound Falcons.
The Franz Pumaren-mentored squad punched the third ticket to the Final Four with an 86-70 rout of UP last Sunday.
If FEU loses to Adamson, the Tamaraws will figure in a do-or-die match against the winner of the 2 p.m. tussle between NU and UP for the last Final Four berth.
The Bulldogs and the Fighting Maroons are sharing No. 5 with an identical 5-8 win-loss records.
The Bulldogs evaded elimination as it survived Far Eastern U’s red-hot shooting from downtown and came through with a fiery fourth quarter rally led by main man Jayjay Alejandro to notch an upset win.
With their Final Four chances hanging in the balance, NU head coach Jamike Jarin vowed to go all out in their last elimination round assignment.
“Rest assured, we’re gonna still give our best no matter what. I’m hoping for a miracle,” said Jarin.
The Maroons, on the other hand, blew a 12-point lead in the third period as it lost to unbeaten and leading Ateneo De Manila University, 82-96, also three days ago.
UP mentor Bo Perasol rued their missed golden opportunity to close in on their first semifinals appearance in 20 years with a stunner over Ateneo but wants to move forward and focus instead on winning the game at hand.
“What’s in our hands right now is to have a victory against NU. It’s not going to help us if we’re going to lose. We have to find a way to keep the energy going and make sure that we’ll win,” said Perasol.