The University of the East (UE) Red Warriors and the National University (NU) Bulldogs will dispute the last Final Four berth at 4 p.m. today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 77 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Red Warriors forced a tie at the fourth and fifth spot with the Bulldogs after they defeated the already eliminated University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers, 78-73, on Tuesday at the Araneta Coliseum. UE and NU are both carrying 5-9 win-loss records.
“We have to be more consistent in our defense to win in our playoff game and reach Final Four,” said UE head coach Derrick Pumaren. “Our winning streak will mean nothing if we can’t qualify in the semifinals.”
The Red Warriors will bank on Dan Alberto, Bong Galanza, 6’8 Charles Mammie, Chris Javier and playmaker Shej Roi Sumang in their battle against the Bulldogs.
“I told the players that we have to learn how to close out games and stay consistent. I believe the players will play their best,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano, who will lean on 6’7 Cameroonian Alfred Aroga, Geno Alolino, Troy Rosario and Glenn Khabunting in holding off the Red Warriors.
The winner of the playoff will enter in the Final Four to meet Ateneo De Manila University that is carrying a twice-to-beat advantage.
JOSEF T. RAMOS