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Sports

Archers, Tams dispute No. 2 in virtual best-of-3

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - It’s either a repeat or payback as defending champion La Salle and Far Eastern U kick off their virtual best-of-three semis showdown in the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament today at the MOA Arena.

The Archers and the Tams found themselves in a similar set-up as last year when they wound up joint second again at the end of the 14-game elims.

The 4 p.m. clash at the MOA Arena is technically a playoff for No. 2 with the winner gaining twice-to-beat incentive in the actual Final Four duel that they’ll play next week.

“After our experience last year, we want to be in the finals of the UAAP this time,” said FEU coach Nash Racela.

In Season 76, the Archers prevailed in both the playoff for second, 74-69, and their semis encounter, 71-68, to advance and eventually go all the way to the crown.

The Tams got the numbers of the Archers this year, though, 77-82 and 70-74, for the psychological edge going to the game.

“We just have to match the intensity of FEU, they’re a very fast-paced team and I think in the first two games we played them, we got beaten in transition so that’s something we have to take care of,” said DLSU coach Juno Sauler.

Both teams hope to come in fully focused, especially after off-court distractions the past days.

FEU had placed its 64-68 overtime loss to top-seed Ateneo under protest and got an unfavorable decision from commissioner Andy Jao. The Tams had accepted the verdict and declared “we’ll be ready for the game against La Salle.”

On the other hand, DLSU saw their top gun Jeron Teng getting hit by mild dengue, preventing him from joining a couple of practices. Teng has been discharged from the hospital Thursday and would be on hand for the crucial playoff.

“The team’s focus has always been there (even with Teng in the hospital),’ said Sauler.

ANDY JAO

ARCHERS AND THE TAMS

ATENEO

FINAL FOUR

IN SEASON

JERON TENG

JUNO SAULER

LA SALLE

LA SALLE AND FAR EASTERN U

NASH RACELA

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