It’s off to a waiting game for the semifinals top seed University of the Philippines.
Perched on top of the standings after the elimination round of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 86 men’s basketball tournament, the Fighting Maroons will be eager spectators when Adamson University and defending champion Ateneo de Manila University go at each other’s throats for the right to advance to the Final Four.
For UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde, whatever the result of the Falcons-Blue Eagles playoff tomorrow at the Mall of Asia Arena, his squad will be ready.
“We look at both teams the same. We don’t choose, we don’t compare. But one thing is for sure, we’ll prepare and we’ll get ready for them,” the mentor said after the Fighting Maroons capped the eliminations with a 79-57 drubbing of National University.
UP finished the elims with a 12-2 win-loss record in a historic feat of landing as top seed for the first time in school’s history.
“Actually, it’s just a result of our hard work. All of these, I mean, are not planned to start with. Like I said, we took it one game at a time. In a season, whatever comes your way, you just have to prepare just to fight over every challenge, and wherever we are now, we’re thankful. Again, it’s not yet done,” Monteverde said.
The Fighting Maroons head into the Final Four armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, bringing them closer to their mission of regaining the title they lost last year.
But Monteverde warns his players not to be complacent as a semis bonus doesn’t assure them of an outright third straight finals appearance.
“We don’t want to think about that situation (where we are at the advantage). Like what I said, what is important for us right now is to just wait for our next opponent. We’re not gonna talk about advantage,” he said.
The Fighting Maroons split their elims head-to-head against the Blue Eagles while sweeping the Falcons in their two meetings for the season.
“The job is not yet done. Whatever we have to do, we have to follow through on it. So, we just have to wait to see who will get that last semis berth so we can prepare for it,” Monteverde said.
Second seed De La Salle University and National University face off in the other Final Four match scheduled to begin on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.