It will be the moment of truth for defending champions De La Salle University Green Archers when they face the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws today in a sudden death semifinals of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 77 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum. The Ateneo University Blue Eagles will engage the National University (NU) Bulldogs in the other Final Four duel. The Ateneo vs. NU match is set at 2 p.m while the La Salle vs. FEU battle is set at 6 p.m.
The Tamaraws have promised to give the Green Archers a tough fight.
“My players should realize that every possession is important at this stage. We have to be smarter in our decision particularly in our offense and defense,” said FEU head coach Nash Racela who will rely on Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy, Mac Belo and Carl Cruz, among others in stopping La Salle’s onslaught.
Racela, of the No. 2 Tamaraws, said that he is expecting reigning champion La Salle to play an all-around game therefore playing defense is the key to winning.
Meanwhile, Ateneo coach Bo Perasol and his wards are also tightening their defense against the charging Bulldogs.
“I’m still optimistic about our chances to reach the finals. We just have to defend well,” said Perasol, who is gunning for his first ever finals appearance since becoming the Blue Eagles’ head coach in 2013. “We already made defensive adjustments on NU’s outside shooting.”
Ateneo topped the elimination round with an 11-3 win-loss record.
The No. 1 Blue Eagles are expected to bank on Most Valuable Player Kiefer Ravena, who averaged 21.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.6 assists with 1.5 steals per game during the double round elimination.
Chris Newsome, Nico Elorde and Arvin Tolentino, among others are expected to provide additional firepower for the Blue Eagles.
“We have to start strong and finish the game strong,” said Ravena.
The Bulldogs beat the Blue Eagles, 78-74, on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum forcing a sudden-death game for the championship berth. Defending champion De La Salle University Green Archers also forced a rubber match through a lopsided 94-73 win against the FEU Tamaraws on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.