National University (NU) and Far Eastern University (FEU) are looking to keep their top positions for the important twice-to-beat card when they face separate foes in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 76 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
NU battles defending champion Ateneo de Manila University at 4 p.m. while FEU tackles winless University of the Philippines (UP) at 2 p.m. NU, FEU and De La Salle University are sharing the lead with similar 9-4 marks while Ateneo and University of Santo Tomas (UST) occupy the No. 4 spot with identical 7-5 slates.
The Bulldogs, Tamaraws and Green Archers are already assured of spots in the Final Four leaving the Blue Eagles and the Growling Tigers in tussle for the last berth in the semifinals.
Leading the NU block are back-to-back Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks Jr. and Cameroonian Emmanuel Mbe along with Jeff Javillonar, Robin Rono and Joshua Alolino while Ateneo will be relying on Kiefer Ravena, Juami Tiongson, Ryan Buenafe, Chris Newsome and Nico Elorde.
FEU, for its part, has the power combo of Terrence Romeo and Ryan Roose Garcia to go up against UP’s Joseph Marata, Henry Asilum and Raul Soyud.
Meanwhile, Ateneo’s 77-72 win over University of the East (UE) last Sunday might be forfeited after UE submitted a “clarification letter” to the UAAP Board.
UE cited Ateneo’s league rule violation after seeing Blue Eagles mentor Bo Perasol, who served a one-game suspension, in the playing venue.
A UAAP rule says a suspended team official is not allowed to stay on the bench or the venue.
However, Ateneo also filed its own “clarification letter.”
According to Ricky Palou, Ateneo’s representative to the UAAP Board, UE suspended player Ralf Olivares was also spotted last Sunday in the venue – a clear violation of league rules.
The UAAP Board headed by its President Fr. Maximino D. Rendon of host Adamson University, is expected to announce its decision on Thursday.