(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
11 a.m. — Adamson vs NU
1 p.m. — FEU vs UST
3 p.m. — UE vs La Salle
6:30 p.m. — UP vs Ateneo
De La Salle University and Adamson University battle separate foes in a pair of crucial matches in the race for the last Final Four berth in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum today.
Tied at fourth with 6-6 win-loss slates, both the Green Archers and Falcons remain in contention to join defending champion University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University and National University in the semifinals.
Adamson will once again try to survive another big challenge against NU in the 11 a.m. curtain-raiser of the quadruple-header playdate. La Salle, on the other hand, faces off with also-ran University of the East at 3 p.m.
Meanwhile, Far Eastern University seeks a good ending to its campaign at 1 p.m. against a slumping University of Santo Tomas side while Ateneo shoots to secure at least a playoff for the last semis twice-to-beat advantage against league-leading UP in a marquee clash at 6:30 p.m.
The Falcons eliminated the Tamaraws, 75-70, last Wednesday behind Jerom Lastimosa, who rediscovered his old form after recovering from a foot injury to score 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting clip in under 17 minutes of action.
Adamson is also on a two-game win run with just two more games left in its eliminations schedule including the elims-ending rematch against Ateneo on 30 November.
“We have a higher chance of making it to the Final Four, as long as we handle business on our end,” Falcons coach Nash Racela said.
The Bulldogs are at solo third spot with a 9-4 card and are coming off a 63-58 defeat at the hands of the Green Archers last Wednesday.
NU still has a chance to clinch a semis twice-to-beat bonus.
A win coupled with the Blue Eagles, who sport a 9-3 record at solo second spot, dropping all of their remaining two games will hand the Bulldogs the Final Four advantage outright. An NU victory and Ateneo winning just one of its last two games will force a playoff for the last semis advantage.
Streaking La Salle, meanwhile, is tipped to overcome an upset bid by UE.
While the Green Archers are on a three-game roll, head coach Derrick Pumaren wants his wards to stay focused.
“I think we’re on the (Final Four) equation right now but we’re still not there. We just have to stay grounded. We cannot waste the three wins we have because the job is not yet done. We cannot let our guards down or we’ll waste this chance if we don’t take care of UE and UST,” he said.
With a 4-9 card tied with the Tamaraws, the Red Warriors can now play spoilers as they try to wrap their season on a winning note.
Ateneo won four straight with its last coming at the expense of UE, 69-66, in overtime.
But the Blue Eagles are in for a tougher fight against the Fighting Maroons, who parade an 11-2 mark and are fresh from beating the Tigers, 78-60.
UP has won three of its last four games against Ateneo since the UAAP Season 84 Finals series.
UST carries a 1-11 slate and is on an 11-game losing slump. After taking on the Tamaraws, the Tigers will close the tournament against the Green Archers on 30 November.