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‘Must-win’ game for Tamaraws

Games Today
(Mall of Asia Arena)
2 p.m. – Ateneo vs UST
4 p.m. – La Salle vs FEU

FEU has to beat La Salle to stay alive for a twice-to-beat.

Whether La Salle will make Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin a prophet will be known today as the Green Archers try to rebound from last week’s stunning defeat to their archrivals against the struggling Far Eastern University in the UAAP basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Baldwin suggested that he and the rest of the Blue Eagles may have “awaken a sleeping giant” after their comprehensive 83-71 victory over the Green Archers that somehow thicken the plot of this season’s title race.

La Salle entered that rivalry game favored to extend its unbeaten run to 13 straight games and move a win shy of completing a double-round elimination sweep. But Ateneo had other ideas and was able to catch La Salle at its worst form.

Green Archers coach Aldin Ayo had said that he and his coaching staff will do some “house cleaning” such as fixing some minor kinks in their armor even as he expressed excitement over their second meeting with FEU.

“Siyempre they felt bad (with the loss), pero ang sabi ko nga sa kanila ‘We have to savor yung feeling na meron’, it will help us a lot,” said Ayo. “Buo naman ang team, wala naman titinag sa amin kahit Ateneo nakatalo sa amin or if this is our first loss, we’re still a team.

“I think mas makakatulong sa amin ito, mas ma-motivate kami.”

While La Salle seems poise for redemption, FEU is hoping to resolve its own struggles after dropping two in a row this week.

FEU lost 61-59 to Adamson on Sunday, then fell behind by 25 points before bowing to Ateneo, 74-59.

The Tamaraws need to beat the Green Archers in order to keep pace with the Blue Eagles in the race for second place and the second twice-to-beat advantage.

Ateneo meets University of Santo Tomas in the first game at 2 p.m., favored to secure its fifth straight victory. The Blue Eagles are tied with the Tams for second at 8-4.

“We reminded the boys not to be fooled by our record, then all of a sudden we lost two straight. Ang puhunan lang namin is how the way we work, and kung umalis kami dun, then again it’s gonna be a problem,” said FEU coach Nash Racela.