3 p.m. — UST vs La Salle
Seven-peat-seeking National University is already waiting for its rival for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 women’s basketball tournament throne.
It is now up to University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University to decide which team will get the right to challenge NU’s dynastic reign in the do-or-die Final Four Game 2 today at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Tipoff is scheduled at 3 p.m. with the survivor marching on to meet the Lady Bulldogs in the best-of-three finals.
The championship opener is on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Eka Soriano, Tacky Tacatac and Joylyn Panglinan connived in carrying the Tigresses to a 68-57 win last Wednesday that negated the Lady Archers’ twice-to-beat advantage.
UST coach Haydee Ong expects another war.
“Um, again, in elimination, we’re 1-1. So, I think it’s going to be another close game. It’s up to the ladies who want it more,” she said.
“Usually in the Final Four, the x and o’s won’t matter anymore. My team would need to show effort, determination and perseverance for us to win.”
The Season 82 runner-up blasted a 12-0 run in the second quarter of Game 1 that created enough separation to shock the young but feisty La Salle squad.
Lady Archers Cholo Villanueva wants his team this time to play their game and put on the same mindset and confidence that fueled their run into the Final Four.
“We just need to execute during clutch moments. We just need to thrive under pressure. Pressure is part of the game, pressure of life,” he said.
“So, we just need to be able to execute properly, play within our capabilities, and trust the habits that we built for the number of months that we have prepared,” Villanueva added.
The troika of Ameng Torres, Fina Niantcho Tchuido and Lee Sario need to channel the same energy they had when they led La Salle to a huge upset of NU in the elims that ended the Lady Bulldogs’ 108-game winning streak for the squad to return to the Finals for the first time since 2016.
NU defeated Ateneo de Manila University, 83-64, in the Final Four for its eighth straight finals stint.