UAAP: La Salle, Adamson in crucial clash as Final 4 race heats up

La Salle’s Justine Baltazar blocks a three-point shot by Adamson’s Keith Zaldivar in their UAAP Season 84 first round game.

MANILA, Philippines — De La Salle University gets another chance to secure a Final 4 berth when it takes on Adamson University on Thursday afternoon at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Green Archers missed on the chance to wrap up their semis spot when they lost to Far Eastern University, 67-62, on Tuesday. It was a costly defeat for La Salle, as they dropped to 7-5 in the UAAP Season 84 tournament.

The Tamaraws improved to 6-6, putting them just a game behind the Green Archers for the third spot.

“We’re honestly really desperate to get the win para we’ll be like solo third,” said La Salle guard Evan Nelle after their loss, their second straight. “Malay mo, magka-chance kami mag-No. 2, ‘di ba?”

Instead, La Salle’s defeat ensured that University of the Philippines will get the second twice-to-beat advantage. The Green Archers need a victory against Adamson to become the third team to grab a Final 4 spot.

It will be easier said than done as they play an Adamson squad that has won four of its last five games, though they are coming off a blowout defeat to defending champion Ateneo de Manila University. But the Green Archers are on uneven footing at the moment, with back-to-back losses and plenty of questions to answer about their offense.

“We had such a flat start eh. As coach said, we can’t have a bad start, lalo na against really good teams. Tapos hahabulin lang namin in the third or fourth. We’ve been doing that ever since the start of the season, and it’s really not working for us,” Nelle noted.

“We’re just focusing on one game at a time,” he added. “Pero we still have Thursday and Sunday to reach the Final 4 and get No. 3, and go on from there.”

The Falcons, who are at 5-7, were quick to move on from a 91-57 defeat to Ateneo that saw them fall apart in the second quarter after a promising start. Adamson coach Nash Racela reminded his team that the crucial game was against La Salle.

“We didn’t want them to lose confidence because of the game today,” said Racela. “We just reminded them, just to keep on fighting doon sa last six minutes, and hopefully we could bring some positive things moving to the game sa Thursday.” 

Tip-off is at 12:30 p.m.

Opening the day’s quadruple-header at 10:00 a.m. is a showdown between National University (5-7) and University of the East (0-12), with the Bulldogs looking to stay in the hunt for a spot in the Final 4 as well.

NU has the momentum after a big win against University of Santo Tomas on Tuesday, while UE is coming off a 12th straight defeat, this time against UP.

At 4:30 p.m., it will be FEU vs. Ateneo with the defending champions looking to inch closer to an elimination round sweep.

The Blue Eagles have won 38 straight games since 2018 but will be up against a confident FEU team that has now won three consecutive contests.

Moreover, it remains to be seen if Ateneo will have captain Gian Mamuyac in the fold after the guard suffered an ankle sprain in the third quarter of their game against Adamson.

Closing out the day is UST vs. UP at 7:00 p.m. The Fighting Maroons will try to build momentum for their clash against Ateneo on Sunday, while the Growling Tigers are hoping to snap a four-game skid.

UST, like UE, is already eliminated from the Final 4 picture. 

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