Defending champion Far Eastern University (FEU) and Ateneo De Manila University are both keen to grab the last twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four when they face separate foes today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at The Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Tamaraws will collide against current No. 1 De La Salle University Green Archers in the second game at 4 p.m., while the Blue Eagles will face the already eliminated University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers in the first game at 2 p.m.
“I don’t want to dwell on that loss. We still have a chance of gaining the No.2 spot and the twice-to-beat bonus in the Final Four. There’s an end to a streak. We will look to end that one. We just want to focus on the next game (La Salle) because it all depends on that,” said FEU coach Nash Racela.
The Tamaraws’ charge will be led by the 6’4 Raymar Jose, Monbert Arong, Axel Inigo, Richard Escoto, Wendel Comboy and Prince Orizu.
The Green Archers, meanwhile, are eager to bounce back from their defeat to Ateneo when they battle FEU. The Blue Eagles gave La Salle its first loss in 13 games, 73-81. The Green Archers though are still on top of the standings with 12-1 win-loss record.
“We just have to play our usual game and make winning a habit again. One of those days, the game is not for you. We didn’t get the pace that we’ve wanted. We learned a lot of things from that loss. We are going to bounce back tomorrow (today),” La Salle coach Aldin Ayo told The Manila Times.
Skipper Jeron Teng, Ben Mbala, Abu Tratter, Jason Perkins, Andrei Caracut, Kim Montalbo, Aljon Melecio, Prince Rivero and Ricci Rivero will lead La Salle’s battle against the Tams.
Ateneo’s victory over La Salle and FEU allowed them to share the second spot with FEU that is also carrying an 8-4 win-loss record.
“We still have two games left and our next opponent is UST. We are focusing first on UST, just one game at a time,” said Ateneo coach Sandy Arespacochaga. “We are not thinking that far ahead. We have to win over UST first.”
Ateneo will lean on Mike Nieto, Isaac Go, Adrian Wong, Thirdy Ravena, Rafael Verano and Tony Asistio when they take on UST.
The Growling Tigers are already out of the Final Four race with a 3-10 win-loss record.
Adamson University completed the Final Four cast with a win over UST.