University of Santo Tomas (UST) will be boosting its bid for the twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four when it faces University of the East (UE) today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
The UST-UE match is at 2 p.m. followed by the tussle between Ateneo de Manila University and University of the Philippines (UP) at 4 p.m. UST is currently occupying the second spot with a 9-2 card behind solo leader Far Eastern University (10-1).
Ateneo holds the third spot with 7-4 followed by De La Salle University (5-6), defending champion National University (5-7), UE (3-7), UP (3-7) and Adamson University (2-10).
The Growling Tigers need to win two more wins to formally clinch the twice-to-beat incentive.
Veterans Kevin Ferrer and Ed Daquioag are the hottest players in the team who are delivering lethal blows for the Growling Tigers.
Ferrer had an impressive 29-point, 14-rebound showing when they beat the Fighting Maroons, 83-76, in their last game while Daquioag has been consistent this season, averaging 17.91 points per game.
“Kevin is a leader in the team. Kina¬kausap niya ang mga teammates niya lalo na sa crunch time at malaking tulong ‘yun sa team dahil mas nagiging solid ang galaw namin sa loob dahil may communication sila,” said UST head coach Bong Dela Cruz, who will also rely on Cameroonian Karim Abdul, Louie Vigil, Kent Lao and Marvin Lee.
UE, on the other hand, lost in its last two matches against FEU (67-71) and La Salle (64-72) but still in contention for the remaining Final Four slots.
So far, FEU and UST have already secured the first two spots in the semifinals.
The Red Warriors must win their remaining assignments to have a clearer chance of advancing to the next round. After UST, they will face Adamson, Ateneo and UP.
UE head coach Derrick Pumaren needs solid performance from Edison Batiller, Paul Varilla and skipper Chris Javier.