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UAAP Finals: Blue Eagles wary of Tamaraws’ momentum

By: - Reporter / @jwpayoINQ
/ 09:38 PM September 20, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—Although Ateneo’s run has been near perfect, coach Norman Black thinks the Blue Eagles need to deal with Far Eastern University’s rejuvenated form in the UAAP Finals.

“FEU has been playing with a lot of energy and that’s something we have to match or surpass to beat them,” said Black.

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“We know FEU is on a roll in the second round. They have a lot of momentum. They’re getting a lot of support and production from players who weren’t producing that much at the beginning of the year. They really have improved.”

Game 1 of the best-of-three men’s basketball championship kicks off at 3 p.m. this Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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Black said, however, things have been looking up as well over at the Ateneo camp as the Blue Eagles hit the final stretch of their quest for a fourth straight crown.

“We’re still trying to improve our game going into the Finals,” Black said in the PSA Forum Tuesday at Shakey’s UN Avenue.

“We’ve had good practices the past days, probably two of our best practices the entire year. That’s really the key for us. If we practice well, we play well.”

While the top-seeded Eagles clinched the first title berth by downing the University of Santo Tomas, 69-66, the No. 3 Tamaraws pulled off a stunner by overcoming Adamson’s twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.

Led by the formidable backcourt of RR Garcia, Terrence Romeo and Cris Tolomia, the Tamaraws dumped the Falcons, 59-49, to forge a semifinal decider, before completing the upset, 78-74, last Sunday.

The Eagles, though, still have the advantage in size with the seven-foot Greg Slaughter at the helm of their campaign.

“If you have the tallest guy in the league, you might as well utilize him as much as you can,” said Black.

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“But at the same time, we have been a pretty balanced team the entire year. Greg hasn’t really dominated the games offensively. He has been willing to pass the basketball to his teammates. We’ll continue to work like that in the upcoming series.”

Black also expects vital cogs Kiefer Ravena, this season’s top rookie, Nico Salva, Kirk Long and Emman Monfort to match up well with the Tamaraws’ key threats.

“We’re in good shape, we’re healthy and ready to play,” said Black.

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TAGS: Adamson Falcions, Ateneo Blue Eagles, Basketball, Cris Tolomia, Emman Monfort, FEU Tamaraws, Greg Slaughter, Kiefer Ravena, Kirk Long, Nico Salva, Norman Black, PSA Forum, RR Garcia, Sports, Terrence Romeo, UAAP Finals, UAAP Season 74
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