THE TWO squads that pulled off surprise sweeps in the eliminations battle for the last semifinal bonus today in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at Mall of Asia Arena.
Far Eastern U, untouchable in the first round, takes on a streaking La Salle side in a 4 p.m. playoff where the winner will claim the No. 2 spot which comes with a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
“We learned our lessons and hope to do a better job,” coach Nash Racela said of his Tamaraws, who forged a 7-0 sweep in the first round but only picked up three wins in the second. “We’re still not on the same level that we want, but in our last few games, we’ve improved.”
Both the Tamaraws and the Archers will face anew in the Final Four on Wednesday, making their playoff today the start of a virtual best-of-three series.
“We just have to keep on improving in our practices and be ready against FEU,” said coach Juno Sauler of his Archers, who are going for their eighth straight win since the start of the second round.
Both La Salle and FEU ended the eliminations tied at 10-4 with National University, but the Bulldogs claimed the No. 1 spot and the first twice-to-beat edge due to a superior quotient.
The Bulldogs will shoot for the first championship berth versus No. 4 University of Santo Tomas in their own semifinal duel tomorrow.
Meanwhile, former King Falcon Kenneth Duremdes will take over from Leo Austria as head coach of the Adamson Falcons on Nov. 1.
Duremdes, who served as an assistant to Austria, has tapped ex-PBA stars Marlou Aquino and Vince Hizon as deputies.
La Salle and FEU split their two previous meetings, with the Tamaraws winning in overtime, 83-79, last July and the Archers avenging that defeat later, 75-66.
Meanwhile, swimmers from UST and La Salle walked out of women’s swimming yesterday in what seemed like an orchestrated protest against the temporary restraining order (TRO) that prevented the league from enforcing its decision barring Mikee Bartolome from competing for University of the Philippines.
“They were already on the starting blocks, then they just turned away,” said Vic Bartolome, Mikee’s father who filed the TRO that stopped the UAAP from implementing its two-year residency rule.
“UST did not completely join. Every time my daughter was fielded in, La Salle did not compete in the event. Is that sportsmanship?”
In a statement, the UAAP board said it “did not order” the swimming boycott “nor did it instigate the move,” but deemed it as “the school’s decision, perhaps as a sign of personal indignation” on the TRO that allowed Bartolome to swim in the competition at Trace Aquatics Center in Los Baños, Laguna.