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(Mall of Asia Arena)
2 p.m. – FEU vs Ateneo
4 p.m. – Adamson vs UST
Adamson’s bid to secure the last Final Four berth could overshadow the marquee clash of defending champion Far Eastern University and Ateneo today in the UAAP basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The young Falcons need to beat the struggling University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers in the second game at 4 p.m. to join the mighty La Salle Green Archers, Tamaraws and Blue Eagles in the Final Four which starts in less than two weeks.
FEU and Ateneo open hostilities at 2 p.m. with the Blue Eagles, buoyed by their stunning 83-71 win over the archrival Green Archers, looking to deal the Tamaraws their second straight loss and forge a tie for second place.
The Tams hold second spot with an 8-3 record, the Blue Eagles are right behind in third at 7-4, while the Falcons carry a 6-5 mark for a two-game lead over the 5-8 National University Bulldogs and University of the Philippines Maroons for fourth.
Adamson, coming off a gritty 61-59 victory over FEU, wants to capitalize on dealing UST another frustrating loss and secure its first Final Four appearance since 2011.
The Falcons are on the verge of doing so despite a young team led by Rob Mañalang, Sean Manganti, Jerrick Ahanmisi and Cameroonian Papi Sarr.
“It’s a good thing to do for Adamson because Adamson hasn’t been in the Final Four since 2011, so we really want to bring some glory for our school and for ourselves, because we’ve been working hard for this,” said Mañalang.
Multi-titled coach Franz Pumaren, hired to bring Adamson back to respectability, has had mixed reviews of his team’s performance, that is why is he urging his players to produce impressive performances in the last three games of the
They face a UST team that has been dealing with a miserable season as coach Boy Sablan failed to find ways to make the team decimated by losses of Kevin Ferrer and Ed Daquioag to graduation play with a determined mentality.
Meanwhile, another Ateneo victory would change the complexion of the race for the second twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
The Blue Eagles have won their last three games, most notably their masterful performance the last time that ended the Green Archers’ unbeaten run of 12 games since the season began in September.
FEU is in dire need to bounce back after its seven-game winning streak was snapped by Adamson.
Besides, Tamaraws coach Nash Racela has been disappointed with the way his team has performed during the latter stretch of the streak. But the loss to the Falcons could serve as a wake-up call for them, especially with the Tams slated to face the Green Archers on Saturday.