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Sports

Archers, Falcons battle for last Final Four slot

John Bryan Ulanday - Philstar.com
Archers, Falcons battle for last Final Four slot
The DLSU Green Archers and the Adamson Soaring Falcons collide to advance to the Final Four in a win-or-go-home knockout on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena
UAAP

MANILA, Philippines — La Salle and Adamson duke it out one last time in a win-or-go-home knockout set Sunday with the survivor marching on to complete the Final Four of the wild UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Action erupts at 6 p.m. after the Archers and the Falcons' tie at fourth place with similar 7-7 cards set the stage for a sudden elimination game with the winner advancing to the semifinals against No. 1 Ateneo. The other semis pairing features No. 2 and reigning champion UP versus No. 3 National U.

In women’s action at 3 p.m., La Salle Lady Archers and Santo Tomas Growling Tigers also figure in a do-or-die match for a chance to challenge six-time reigning champion NU in the best-of-three finals.

Adamson, which entered the last playdate over the weekend with an upperhand for the last and No. 4 seed at 7-6, fumbled an opportunity to advance right away with a narrow 66-61 loss against Ateneo.

La Salle took care of business on its end with an equally close 77-72 victory over also-ran Santo Tomas to keep its Final Four hopes burning amidst an undermanned unit with the absences of Kevin Quiambao, Mike Phillips and Schonny Winston.

“We just have to keep playing and do our part. If God has plans for us, He's the one who knows at the end kung ano mangyayari. We just gotta keep fighting and hopefully, good things will happen to us,” said Archers tactician Derrick Pumaren, who’s hoping to finally field a complete squad in their most important match this season.

Adamson also endured the same adversity including Jerom Lastimosa’s foot injury that at one point took the fight out of their semis hopes before the latter’s timely return.

Now, the Falcons are still alive and kicking with their Final Four destiny depending no less than in their own hands.

“Our focus is to control things we can control. That has been our message ever since. Two weeks ago, ang sabi ko sa kanila, I still want to play and coach in December, I want you guys playing in December. And yes, we're playing this Sunday. That's what we wanted,” beamed Adamson mentor Nash Racela.

The Lady Archers and the Growling Tigresses, for their part, are out to wage an equally fiery duel in the women’s knockout after Santo Tomas erased La Salle’s twice-to-beat bonus with a huge 68-57 win in Game 1 to force a rubber match.

“We have to work harder now. The job is not yet over hanggang matalo namin nang dalawang beses 'yung La Salle going into the finals,” said Santo Tomas mentor Haydee Ong.

“We expect to be a better team this time,  with more sense of urgency, more concentration and focus on executing offensively and defensively,” answered La Salle coach Cholo Villanueva, whose wards snapped NU’s 108-game win streak in the elims to dodge a stepladder Final Four. 

Sunday games 

Mall of Asia Arena
3 p.m. UST vs DLSU (women’s Final Four)
6 p.m. – DLSU vs AdU (men’s knockout for Final Four)

BASKETBALL

UAAP

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