UST RUBBERNECKER THIS TIME
12 nn. — DLSU vs NU
4 p.m. — FEU vs Ateneo
This is a Saturday when coach Alfredo Jarencio and his University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers could just lay back, sit back and relax and watch as four teams fight it out to get premier placements in the Top Four leading to the end of the first round of eliminations of the UAAP men’s basketball competitions at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Tigers have successfully done away with dealing with the top guns of the tournament, are on a five-game high — the best winning run the 401-year-old university has had in recent years — and are just awaiting the outcome of today’s games to better appreciate their outlook for the rest of the competitions.
Pivotal, today’s games will be as their results will, more or less, give a first real look as to the Final Four composition.
At 12 noon, National University attempts to assert its real class as a title-contender when it takes on De La Salle University with both teams contesting fourth place at the end of the first round.
At 4-2, the Bulldogs, the pre-tournament favorites souped up by heavy support from the mega-rich Sy family, will try to keep the Green Archers, at 3-3, from forging a share of fourth place.
Then at 4 p.m., Far Eastern University and Ateneo de Manila break their tie at the lead at 5-1 with the winner being assured of the top spot at the end of the first round.
League officials have separately ticketed the two games, thus, the disparity in playing times.
Waiting in the wings are the Tigers who also have a 5-1 slate and will most likely pick up another win tomorrow at the close of the first round hostilities when they take on Adamson (1-5) and take a share of the tournament leadership with the winner of the FEU-Ateneo game today.
Thus, both games today will be crucial.
A win by DLSU will tie it with NU for fourth to fifth places, a damper to the Bulldogs’ massive build-up built around last year’s MVP Bobby Ray Parks. While a loss by the Green Archers would shove them down to fifth place and, worse, draw a definitive line between the teams that could go all the way to the championship and those which would not.
All told and with a UST win over Adamson forthcoming, the winner between FEU and Ateneo would share the top spot with the Tigers with the loser contending itself with either solo third or sharing it with the Bulldogs should the latter win over the Green Archers.