University of Santo Tomas (UST) and National University (NU) clash for the last final berth today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 76 men’s basketball at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The UST-NU rubber match is scheduled at 4 p.m.
The winner between UST and NU will face De La Salle University in a best-of-three championship showdown beginning next week.
“Final Four is a different place and we’re ready to fight once again,” said Growling Tigers mentor Pido Jarencio with high hopes that skipper Jeric Teng will provide the firepower anew to break up the Bulldogs’ defense.
“I’m hopeful that he [Teng] will lead the team again. I’m sure NU will fight back and we’ll be ready,” added Jarencio.
The Growling Tigers, who dethroned Ateneo de Manila University, will also bank on Aljon Mariano, Cameroonian Karim Abdul, Clark Bautista, Kevin Ferrer and Ed Daquioag.
The Bulldogs, for their part, made it to the Final Four with a 10-4 win-loss log to earn a twice-to-beat incentive. However, the Growling Tigers forced a do-or-die game after defeating the Bulldogs last Sunday.
“UST really showed its experience playing in the Final Four in our first meeting but this Saturday, we’ll be absolutely ready mentally and physically,” said NU head coach Eric Altamirano. “I believed we already made the necessary adjustments.”
Bobby Ray Parks Jr., the league’s back-to-back Most Valuable Player, said he is all set to play physical basketball against the Growling Tigers.
“See you Saturday, I’m ready to play basketball,” said Parks, who complained the too much physicality of UST during the final four.
Besides Parks, Emmanuel Mbe, Robin Rono, Denise Villamor, Joshua Alolino, Jeoffrey Javillonar and Troy Rosario are also expected to deliver big games for the Bulldogs.