Race for last F4 spot heats up

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After Adam­son University’s win over National University (NU) last Sunday, the Final Four cast is almost complete with three more teams jockeying up for the remaining semifinal slot.

The Soaring Falcons, with an 8-4 win-loss record, are already assured of a playoff for the Final Four berth and just need to win one of their remaining two assignments to advance to the next stage.

But Adamson has to deal with University of the Philippines (UP) and Far Eastern University (FEU), two of the three teams that are in contention for possibly the remaining Final Four slot.

The Soaring Falcons can actually tie defending champion De La Salle University (10-2) for the No. 2 spot and the twice-to-beat advantage but head coach Franz Pumaren is focusing on winning their remaining games.

Hynric Ochea and Papi Sarr of Adamson defend against Thirdy Ravena of Ateneo during a UAAP men’s basketball game at the Araneta Coliseum. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

“I’ll be hypocrite if I tell you that I’m not aiming for the next two games but right now our focus is just to win the next two games,” said Pumaren, whose wards face the Fighting Maroons on November 5 and the Tamaraws on November 11.

“We don’t have it in our hands if we’re gonna land at No. 2. But what’s important is we win the next two games. At least coming into the Final Four, we’ll enter on a winning note,” he added.

Only the unbeaten Ateneo de Manila University (12-0) is assured of the Final Four incentive and could go straight to the best-of-three finals if it sweeps its last two games against UP and La Salle.

The Green Archers could join them at the top two if they win one of their last two games. They are scheduled to meet NU on November 4 and arch rival Ateneo on Nov 12.

Fighting for their lives are the Fighting Maroons, the Tamaraws and the Bulldogs, although the latter have a more difficult route to the semifinals stage.

UP, with a 59-56 win over FEU on Paul Desiderio’s game-winning triple, have tougher assignments ahead, as the Diliman-based dribblers will have Adamson, Ateneo and NU in its schedule.

“We need to get a good chance. In fact, we’re not talking about our team standings. It gives us undue pressure,” said Perasol. “We just talk about enjoying the game and making sure we will get a chance.”

As for the Tamaraws of head coach Olsen Racela, they need to regroup and move on from that heart-breaking loss to UP.

FEU still has University of the East (UE), NU and Adamson on its schedule and a sweep of the three games will give them a better chance of moving forward.

The Red Warriors, at 3-9, have a mathematical chance to force a playoff for the No. 4 spot but their fate is no longer on their hands.

The Bulldogs, at 4-7, are in the same situation as UE, as the team of rookie coach Jamike Jarin needs to sweep its three remaining games against La Salle, UP and FEU and hopes that the Tamaraws and the Fighting Maroons won’t reach eight wins.





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