FEU, Ateneo dispute finals berth today

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Far Eastern University (FEU) and Ateneo De Manila Univer-sity will dispute the last finals slot at 4 p.m. today in the Final Four round of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Tamaraws forced a do-or-die game after escaping the Blue Eagles 62-61 on Saturday.

“We will focus on their press (defense) and we will make sure that our players have already recovered from our last game. We expect a tougher matchup for both teams tomorrow (today),” FEU coach Nash Racela told The Manila Times in a phone interview.

Prince Orizu of FEU battles for the ball against Manuel Tolentino of Ateneo during a UAAP men’s basketball semifinals game at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Saturday. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

Prince Orizu of FEU battles for the ball against Manuel Tolentino of Ateneo during a UAAP men’s basketball semifinals game at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Saturday. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

The Tamaraws are looking up to skipper Raymar Jose to pull off another impressive performance. Jose finished with 20 points and 23 rebounds in their last match against Ateneo.

“Our commitment is do our part executing the game plan and to achieve our goal. We are hoping to return to the finals,” added Racela. “Not only Reymar (Jose) but the whole players should also deliver a double effort in tomorrow’s game. If not, triple effort.”

Asked if he’s bent on stopping another La Salle-Ateneo finals battle, Racela said: “I’m not thinking about it although that’s the goal but my focus is to keep the team better. We have to give our best.”

Besides Jose, Monbert Arong, Wendel Comboy, Axel Inigo, big man Prince Orizu and Jose Trinidad will also lead the Tamaraws’ charge.

The winner between Ateneo and FEU will face La Salle in the best-of-three finals.

The No.2 Blue Eagles, under coach Tab Baldwin, hold a twice-to-beat advantage and a 10-4 win-loss record.

Ateneo is expected to use tight defense to nullify FEU’s three-point shooting and strong frontline.

Forward Aaron Black, swingman Thirdy Ravena, Tony Asistio, center Isaac Go, Rafael Verano, Mike Nieto, Adrian Wong, among others, will lead the Blue Eagles’ onslaught.

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