Do-or-die Wednesday for Green Archers vs Tamaraws
What has been a struggle in the second round will come down to a do-or-die match for La Salle.
The Green Archers—who have won only two of their last six assignments—must win their final elimination game this Wednesday just to forge a playoff for the last Final Four slot in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
And a formidable foe adds to the pressure as the Archers will take on the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, the No. 2 seed now assured of a twice-to-beat bonus in the semifinals.
“We just have to come out and show a lot of heart,” said La Salle coach Juno Sauler. “We have to keep competing until the very end.”
The Archers need to pull off an upset against the Tamaraws to tie defending champion National University for fourth spot at 7-7.
Otherwise, it will be the end of the season for the Archers, who missed the semifinals only thrice since the league implemented the Final Four format in 1994.
The FEU-La Salle battle is set at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Archers hope to build on in their last win over University of the Philippines, 72-68, which snapped a three-game losing skid.
Sauler offered no excuse for their second-round woes, but noted the tight competition that led to the mad dash to the Final Four.
The race for the last semifinal slot could have been a three-way race with University of the East, had the Bulldogs lost to the Tamaraws last Saturday.
“All the teams have been playing great,” said Sauler. “Even at the start of the season, I said the standings are going to be very close and there’s going to be a bunch of teams. We happened to be in that bunch.”
The Bulldogs, though, will just watch and wait for their next opponent.
“We’re always ready,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano. “It doesn’t matter where we end up.”
If the Archers win, NU and La Salle will dispute the last seminal slot on Saturday.
But if the Archers lose, the Final Four gets going this weekend with NU claiming the last spot. FEU will clash with Ateneo on Saturday, while No. 1 University of Santo Tomas will tangle with NU in the other pairing on Sunday.
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