Four of the eight UAAP basketball teams’ Final Four fates hang in the balance with two game dates to go in the Season 84 elimination round
MANILA, Philippines – With two playing dates left in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament, four out of the eight teams’ Final Four fates still hang in the balance as tensions continue to swirl amid the logjam in the middle of the standings.
NU (5-7) vs UE (0-12)
After losing four straight games to begin the second round, NU finally took care of business as it routed lower-ranked UST for a much-needed fifth win.
Now, the Bulldogs continue their late-season rally over UE, a team they are expected to beat, at 10 am to stay in the heat of the fourth-seed race.
NU stalwarts like Janjan Felicilda, John Lloyd Clemente, and Michael Malonzo will have to be in tip-top shape to avoid the swing of the upset ax wielded by UE’s Harvey Pagsanjan, Clint Escamis, and the Paranada brothers Nikko and Kyle.
Adamson (5-7) vs La Salle (7-5)
In arguably the most pivotal match of the day, La Salle guns for an outright Final Four berth at 12:30 pm at the expense of Adamson, which recently saw its four-game winning streak snapped courtesy of another Ateneo blowout.
The premise is simple. If the Falcons win, they keep their playoff fates in their hands, and they drag the Archers nearer to the logjam. If they lose, they get pushed to the brink of elimination while their foes breathe a sigh of relief with a Final Four spot in tow.
Look for Adamson standouts Jerom Lastimosa, Lenda Douanga, and Joem Sabandal to lead the way as they fend off the skills and hustle of La Salle stars Justine Baltazar, Michael Phillips, and Evan Nelle.
FEU (6-6) vs Ateneo (12-0)
Back in 2018, FEU was the last team to deal mighty Ateneo a stinging loss. Since then, 38 games later, the Blue Eagles have not been clipped on their way to complete dominance, and they intend to keep it that way with another outright finals berth within reach.
However, a Tamaraws victory at 4:30 pm can guarantee them a stronger hold on the fourth seed that Adamson and NU cannot yet get this Thursday even if they also win.
FEU’s three-headed backcourt monster of RJ Abarrientos, Xyrus Torres, and LJ Gonzales have been known to make it rain on offense when they’re in a groove. Look for Ateneo’s star-less core to prevent that momentum from ever swinging their foes’ way.
UP (10-2) vs UST (3-9)
Both UP and UST sealed their elimination round fates last Tuesday, April 26, and are now just looking to pen happy endings in their last few games.
Look for Zavier Lucero, Carl Tamayo and Malick Diouf to hone their offensive chops a bit further in preparation for UP’s Sunday, May 1 showdown against Ateneo, all while giving UST’s young guns much-needed experience to take into next season.
With nothing to lose, Nic Cabanero, Joshua Fontanilla and Sherwin Concepcion aim to go all out to give the Thomasian community something positive to hang on to as their season wraps up.