FAR EASTERN University and National University go at it again in a controversial rematch today with the winner making it to the UAAP Final Four.
The Tamaraws—whose slim 77-75 triumph was nullified by the UAAP Board recently—seek a more decisive repeat win over the Bulldogs on the last day of the men’s basketball eliminations at 4 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Two weeks ago, the Board overturned commissioner Ato Badolato’s decision to uphold the Tamaraws’ victory, noting that the video evidence on the buzzer-beating layup of FEU ace RR Garcia was “inconclusive and unclear.”
“[The replay] is definitely a blessing, so we have to take advantage of it,” said NU star Ray Parks. “The entire team is motivated. This is not just given to everybody.”
Ateneo already secured the No. 1 spot with a 12-2 record, which comes with a twice-to-beat bonus in the Final Four.
University of Santo Tomas had also advanced to the semifinals with a 10-4 card.
If FEU wins, the Tamaraws will tie the Tigers and eliminate the Bulldogs from semifinal contention.
In this scenario, No. 1 Ateneo will clash with the fourth-ranked La Salle, while UST and FEU will tangle in the other pairing after disputing the other twice-to-beat incentive in a playoff.
If NU wins, the Bulldogs will claim the No. 3 spot due to a superior quotient despite finishing tied with the Tamaraws and the Green Archers.
If this happens, UST will secure the remaining semifinal bonus and take on NU in the semifinals, while Ateneo will battle the winner between FEU and La Salle, which will dispute the fourth spot in a playoff.
“We have to focus on our defense and ball-sharing,” said FEU coach Bert Flores, who’s relying on topnotch guards Garcia and Terrence Romeo.
“What’s in our control is our game against FEU, where we end up after that game, then we’ll take it,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano.