THE twice-postponed Ateneo-Adamson showdown should be worth the wait.
The Blue Eagles gun for the remaining twice-to-beat slot in the Final Four against a Falcons side eyeing to force a playoff for the No. 2 slot today in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Both teams hoping to sustain their late charge in the second round, Ateneo and Adamson are going all-out to end their elimination round campaign on a bright note at 4 p.m.
Defending champion Far Eastern University seeks to arrest a three-game slide and hope for the best possible playoff seeding as it takes on University of the East in the curtain raiser at 2 p.m.
Today’s doubleheader was first called off last Oct. 16 due to Typhoon “Karen”, while the second one, scheduled last Oct. 29, was also canceled due to the unavailability of the Red Warriors on that day.
The race for the remaining twice-to-beat semis incentive is a three-way affair among the Eagles (9-4), the Tamaraws (8-5) and the Falcons (8-5).
So far, La Salle, finishing the eliminations with a 13-1 record, has clinched the top ranking and the accompanying Final Four bonus.
Victories by Ateneo and FEU will give the Eagles the coveted No. 2 seed, while the Tamaraws will drop to No. 3. Adamson, on the other hand, will finish at No. 4.
In the event that the Falcons win over Ateneo by 30 points or less, coupled by an FEU victory, Adamson will play the Eagles again for the No. 2 ranking, while relegating the Tamaraws to No. 4.
Ateneo will drop to No. 4, which is highly unlikely, if the Falcons beat the Eagles by 31 points or more, coupled by an FEU win, which will force a playoff between the Tamaraws and Adamson for the remaining Final Four bonus.
Ateneo is seeking to avenge its 61-62 loss to Adamson in the first round, with Dawn Ochea delivering the game-winner.
The Eagles are the current hottest team in the league with a five-game winning streak, while the Falcons have won their last four games which secured the San Marcelino-based squad their first Final Four stint.
“We just have to beat Ateneo and create some sort of tie,” said multi-titled coach Franz Pumaren, who turned Adamson from also-rans to Final Four contenders overnight. “Hopefully we can sustain the run.”
With the expectations mounting in the midst of this second round streak, coach Tab Baldwin is hoping that the Eagles will remain focused at the task at hand.
“This has been a learning experience for our players. We put ourselves in a position to be able to get the twice-to-beat,” said Baldwin.
With the recent slump, FEU virtually kissed its semifinal bonus bid goodbye, and a victory over UE will be enough to boost its sagging spirits heading into the Final Four.
The Tamaraws are coming off a 67-73 loss to the Green Archers, who might meet them again in the semis if the 20-time titlists end up at No. 4.