ADAMSON shoots for the remaining Final Four berth, while defending champion Far Eastern University and Ateneo clash in a match which has a huge implication for the remaining semifinal bonus in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament today at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Eyeing their first semifinal appearance since 2011, the Falcons are tipped to prevail in their 4 p.m. duel with already eliminated University of Santo Tomas.
The Tamaraws and the Blue Eagles meet in the curtain raiser at 2 p.m., with the winner gaining headway in the race for the second twice-to-beat slot in the Final Four.
Adamson got a boost on its semifinal bid with a 61-59 victory over FEU last Sunday for a 6-5 record, opening a two-game buffer over its closest pursuers National University and University of the Philippines, both tied at 5-8 in joint fifth.
The Falcons have three chances to nail the semifinal slot and if they beat the disjointed Growling Tigers, they have nothing to worry anymore except for the playoff placings.
If it loses to UST, Adamson will get another shot against NU on Sunday or a final one against Ateneo on Nov. 16 in a make-up for the postponed Oct. 16 game.
The Tigers, who are in seventh place with only three wins to show, are simply eyeing to play as the spoilers.
“It’s going to be tough. We have to just make sure that we have to establish our game from the very beginning,” said Falcons coach Franz Pumaren.
The upstart Eagles are sporting a 7-4 card, now only trailing the 8-3 Tamaraws by a full game in the chase for the second twice-to-beat incentive.
Ateneo is coming off a shock 83-71 win over fierce rival La Salle last Saturday, pinning this season’s consensus title favorites its first loss after opening the tournament at 12-0.
Watching in the stands, Tamaraws coach Nash Racela was impressed on how the Eagles toppled Ben Mbala-led Archers.
“They really played a very disciplined game against La Salle,” said Racela on Ateneo.
The last three games will test FEU’s character as it tries to maintain in the Top 2 going into the playoffs.
“My main worry is ’yung mag-regress kami. Ang importante kasi going to this crucial stretch is kailangang mag-improve nang mag-improve. That is always our concern,” said Racela.