IT’S Final Four or bust for National University as the Bulldogs fight for their playoff lives when they face Far Eastern University on Sunday in the UAAP seniors basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Bulldogs take on the Tamaraws at 4 p.m. in a replay of their controversial tiff last September 2.
FEU is currently in solo third with a 9-4 win-loss card while NU is in fifth with an 8-5 record, a half-game behind De La Salle (9-5).
NU coach Eric Altamirano expects a physical match-up against FEU with all the animosity stirred by the Bulldogs' decision to put their September 6 game under protest, claiming FEU star RR Garcia's last-gasp basket should not have been counted by the referees.
The league board upheld the protest, leading to the rematch.
“I also expect this game to be physical not only because of the protest but because of its effect in the standings,” said Altamirano.
Despite being tagged as one of the favorites during the postseason, the Bulldogs found themselves in a precarious situation as a defeat will eliminate them from the Final Four.
An NU win, meanwhile, will forge a three-way tie for 9-5 win-loss but the Bulldogs will occupy third spot via a superior quotient with the Tamaraws dropping to a playoff for the No. 4 spot with De La Salle.
The Tamaraws bowed to De La Salle, 63-56, last September 16 but still has a shot at a playoff for a twice-to-beat advantage with University of Santo Tomas with a win over the Bulldogs.
FEU will be without Arvie Bringas, who was suspended for the September 6 game and will remain so in the rematch.