by Jonas Terrado
Manila, Philippines – Far Eastern University shoots for at least a playoff for a Final Four berth when it battles defending champion Ateneo today in the resumption of UAAP Season 76 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Coming off an exhausting 98-94 double overtime victory against University of the East last Sunday, the league-leading Tamaraws want nothing more but to keep their winning ways but they will be hard-pressed on beating the streaking Blue Eagles in the 2 p.m. encounter.
The other game will pit a pair of struggling teams in University of Santo Tomas and Adamson at 4 p.m.
FEU improved to 8-2 on the season after Sunday’s frantic win that needed two extra periods and an improbable comeback from seven points down in the first overtime that heaved a big sigh of relief for coach Nash Racela and his boys.
The Tamaraws’ star player RR Garcia returns to FEU after serving a one-game suspension for two unsportsmanlike fouls. But despite his return, FEU is expected to have its hands full against Ateneo.
Ateneo has weathered a rare 0-3 start by winning five of its next six games. The Eagles have also won their last four games to tie UE for fourth at 5-4.
The Eagles of coach Bo Perasol kept their fiery form last Sunday when they beat Adamson, 79-66, behind Kiefer Ravena, Ryan Buenafe and Chris Newsome.
“As of now we don’t really focus on individual things but how can we improve defensively as a team and we would like to see the same defense that we showed on Adamson against them,” said Perasol.
While these two teams are inside the Final Four race, UST and Adamson are just looking to get there. But both are on a downward spiral after strong start to their respective campaigns.