Wanting more than just Final 4 slot, Bulldogs tackle dangerous Archers
After nailing their first semifinal trip in seven years, the National University (NU) Bulldogs remain insatiable as ever with two more games before the UAAP men’s basketball Final Four takes centerstage.
The Bulldogs will tackle a resurgent La Salle side at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, bidding to end the second round armed with a comfortable cushion going into the playoffs.
“We have to be ready against La Salle. We have to be ready in our last two games of the second round because we’re not just targeting a Final Four finish,’’ said NU coach Jeff Napa.
Beating the Green Archers and the Adamson Falcons on Saturday could seal the Bulldogs’ twice-to-beat edge depending on how the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons (10-2) and the Ateneo Blue Eagles (8-3) will wrap things up.
“We won’t be complacent because the level of competition is peaking, especially in our last two remaining games,’’ said John Lloyd Clemente, who starred in their conquest of the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers on Sunday.
Clemente’s dread is justified, having witnessed the Green Archers send the league-leading and defending champion Maroons crashing recently.
The Green Archers (5-6) are suddenly back on track in their playoff bid even without Most Valuable Player (MVP) contender Schonny Winston, who remains uncertain of suiting up due to a delicate calf injury that sidelined him the past four games.
“We still don’t know. He’s still day to day. Hopefully we’ll get a miracle message from heaven that he can start playing,’’ said La Salle coach Derrick Pumaren following their 82-80 shocker of a triumph over the Maroons.
Climbing out of a 19-point hole before notching the win over the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, the Blue Eagles take on the University of the East Red Warriors as they shoot for a Final Four spot.
Ange Kouame continues to be hobbled by a knee injury, prompting the Ateneo coaching staff to limit his exposure on the floor. But against the Tamaraws, the 6-foot-10 center posted numbers similar to his MVP stint last season. INQ
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