STARING at the possibility of coaching his final UAAP men’s basketball game, Far Eastern University mentor Nash Racela is too determined to foil a dream Ateneo-La Salle championship.
“We’ll try our best to deny that dream because I have a better dream,” said Racela, who will handle TNT Katropa in the pros once his UAAP season is over.
The Tamaraws hope to extend their reign against the twice-to-beat Blue Eagles in the Final Four at 4 p.m. today at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Green Archers have already booked the first slot in the best-of-three series and are currently on a long break before the Dec. 3 Finals opener.
This is why Ateneo wants to finish off FEU and arrange a title showdown with La Salle which last took place in 2008.
“We are confident on who we’ll face. Ang problema ko is yung dream match-up. Because now people are putting it to people’s minds that there’s a dream match-up,” said Racela.
Even if the Blue Eagles defeated the Tamaraws twice in the eliminations, coach Tab Baldwin is a bit wary of the 20-time champions.
“I think FEU is going to be a monster. Their players have experience and their coaching staff is experienced out there in these situations,” said Baldwin.
In fact, the Tamaraws remain upbeat in the Final Four even if the Morayta-based squad lost three of their last four games in the elims to wound up third at 9-5.
“For one second, I don’t think we are anything other than the underdogs. And yes, we are in a great position but just let one game slip and it all goes down to one game. We got to prepare like we have been preparing and we got to stay focused on FEU now and not think about anything else,” he added.
After a shaky first eight games, Ateneo rolled to six straight wins to finish second at 10-4.
Thirdy Ravena, who led the Eagles in scoring with a 9.9-point average, has been solid in the streak while young big man Isaac Go has been impressive in the second round.
Ateneo is also counting on Adrian Wong, Mike Nieto and Anton Asistio to sustain their significant contributions during that winning run.
Raymar Jose, who is averaging 11.1 points and 11 rebounds this season, has been the Tamaraws’ workhorse.
Consistency has been a problem for FEU as of late as ace guard Monbert Arong was a disappointment in the past few games.
If the Tamaraws prevail, the semifinals decider will be played on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.