(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
8 a.m. – UST vs. FEU (W)
10 a.m. – UE vs. Ateneo (W)
2 p.m. – La Salle vs. UE (M)
4 p.m. – UP vs. NU (M)
LA SALLE shoots for its 12th consecutive victory against University of the East today in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Already assured of a twice-to-beat bonus in the Final Four, the Green Archers can jump straight to the championship round by winning their last three elimination round games.
Dominant this season with an average winning margin of 17.2 points per game, La Salle knows that everything will go down the drain if it fails to win it all.
It may sound cliché, but for skills coach Paolo Sauler, who has been speaking in behalf of Aldin Ayo who has been skipping the customary post-game interviews as of late, the Archers are taking it one game at a time.
“We haven’t achieved anything yet,” said Sauler.
La Salle is coming off its most lopsided win of the tournament, a massive 99-56 victory over University of Santo Tomas last Sunday.
If that one-side game against the Growling Tigers was a gauge, the Archers are expected to go in a cakewalk in their 2 p.m. encounter with the last-place Red Warriors.
The league’s best offensive team with 90.5 points per game, La Salle’s deep roster -- from Ben Mbala up to its 15th man from the bench -- is simply too much.
Skidding National University and University of the Philippines clash in the other game at 4 p.m., as both teams are seeking to avoid early elimination with a victory.
Mired on a five-game losing streak, the Bulldogs are running fifth with a 4-7 record, while the Fighting Maroons have dropped their last two outings for a 3-8 slate.
NU is trailing fourth-running Adamson (5-5) by one-and-a-half game in the race for the last Final Four berth, while UP, which is tied with idle UST in sixth place, is two-and-a-half games out of the No. 4 spot.
At 2-8, UE still has a mathematical chance of making it to the semifinals via the backdoor, but the Red Warriors need to sweep their last four matches and hope that either Ateneo or the Falcons won’t reach seven wins to force a playoff.