That weekend trek to Antipolo was surely interesting — and probably season-defining — for all eight UAAP teams.
For the second time this year, the UAAP made its way back to the Rizal Capitol to stage a number of second round basketball games inside the Ynares Center. Over at the men’s side, four key matchups were on hand, with each result stirring up the team standings of this competitive and exciting Season 82.
A sequel to the September 21 and 22 matchups, the Saturday double-header had the UST Growling Tigers face National University Bulldogs and the Far Eastern University Tamaraws taking on the De La Salle Green Archers. Defending Seniors champions Ateneo De Manila Blue Eagles and the University of the East Red Warriors kicked off festivities Sunday, followed by the weekend main event pitting the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons versus the Adamson Soaring Falcons.
How did the results of these four pairings affect the standings? FOX Sports Philippines breaks down the weekend aftermath:
UST 88, NU 76
It was a tumultuous week, to say the least, for the Growling Tigers. After a big win last October 16 against UP, the UST community was rocked with news concerning sensational newcomer Rhenz Abando, who was allegedly being lured away by other schools in the middle of the tournament. Both Abando and UST coach Aldin Ayo disproved the reports, as the talented La Union native re-affirmed his commitment with the España-based institution.
Benched in their game against the Fighting Maroons, Abando went back to action last Saturday against the Bulldogs, whom the Tigers took down 88-76. The victory strengthened the Growling Tigers’ bid for a Final Four ticket as they improve their win-loss record to 7-5. The Bulldogs, who tote a 2-9 card, miss out on the playoff bus for the fourth straight year.
FEU 81, DLSU 60
In a match reminiscent to their first round encounter, the Tamaraws decimated the Green Archers anew with a 21-point beatdown. The Morayta-based squad rained down threes on the hapless Archers to secure the victory, solidifying their hold on the number four spot with a 6-6 slate. The Archers stumble to their sixth defeat in 11 games, as they slide down to fifth place. The embattled green and white quintet are now hard-pressed to sweep their remaining three matches to gain at least a playoff for a Final Four slot.
ADMU 84, UE 50
Are the Blue Eagles two games away from an elimination round sweep?
If their performance against the Warriors is an indication, then the Tab Baldwin-mentored five may very well finish the preliminaries with a perfect 14-0 slate. Win number 12, at the expense of the Warriors, was a result of another dominant showing by the three-peat seeking Eagles, led by the trio of Isaac Go, Angelo Kouame and Thirdy Ravena. Succumbing to their ninth defeat in 12 starts, the Recto-based Warriors bomb out of contention for a Final Four spot for the tenth consecutive season.
UP 81, AdU 77
Similar to their first meeting this season, the Fighting Maroons roared back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to escape with a narrow four-point win over the Soaring Falcons. Behind the heroics of Kobe Paras and Jun Manzo, the Diliman-based dribblers carved out an all-important victory – their seventh against four defeats – to tighten their grip for the second spot behind Ateneo. Just like the Archers, the Franz Pumaren-mentored Falcons would now need a sweep of their last three matches to remain in the chase for a Final Four slot.
Team standings as of October 20 (remaining games)
1. ADMU 12-0 (NU, UP)
2. UP 7-4 (NU, DLSU, ADMU)
3. UST 7-5 (DLSU, AdU)
4. FEU 6-6 (AdU, UE)
5. DLSU 5-6 (UST, UP, AdU)
6. AdU 4-7 (FEU, UST, DLSU)
7. * UE 3-9 (FEU, NU)
8. * NU 2-9 (UP, ADMU, UE)
* eliminated from Final Four race
(Photos from UAAP)