Win is a must
MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — Holder Ateneo and archrival La Salle mix it up in yet another titanic showdown today with so much at stake in their respective playoffs drive in UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tourney.
The red-hot Eagles (10-2) gun for a guaranteed Top 2 seeding and twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four in the 4 p.m. rivalry game at Smart Araneta Coliseum while the streaking Archers (8-4) seek a hassle-free entry into the Last-4 with payback victory.
“It’s really a big test for us kasi dito namin malalaman how far we’ve gone since our blowout loss sa kanila (55-71 in the first round),” said DLSU coach Louie Gonzalez, whose wards warmed up for the Eagles by beating their last three opponents.
The Eagles enter this blue-versus-green entanglement on a five-game roll and back to full strength with the return of twins Matt and Mike Nieto from illness. To gear up for DLSU, the defending champions played efficient basketball in a 62-48 drubbing of second-running Adamson over the weekend in Antipolo.
Even with all hands on board, the Katipunan-based cagers brace for a war with the vastly improved Archers.
“It’s going to be a tough game. We saw their last games, they’re improving, they’re really gearing up with their level of play for the Final Four,” said AdMU assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga. “So we have to approach it like a championship game already.”
“Basta Ateneo, maghahanda talaga kami. It’s a big game, we’re trying to see kung ano (na) kami as a team,” said Gonzalez.
“Laging sinasabi ni coach every game is important kasi makaka-affect yun sa Final Four so kailangang ipanalo as much as possible yung game,” said DLSU veteran Aljun Melecio.