ATENEO and defending champion Far Eastern University clash in a duel of fancied teams, even as National University tries to keep its Final Four hopes alive Thursday in the UAAP Season 77 men's football tournament at the FEU-Diliman pitch.
With 22 points and at third place, the Blue Eagles are a point ahead of the Tamaraws (21) and a win in their 3 p.m. duel would put the Katipunan-based booters on top and boost their bid for another semis appearance.
Trying to stay in the Final Four hunt, the Bulldogs clash with also-ran University of Santo Tomas in the curtain-raiser at 2 p.m.
Both matches will be aired live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23.
NU is still in fourth spot with 17 points, four points behind FEU as a loss would put itself on the brink of elimination.
University of the Philippines remains on top with 24 points as the 16-time champions need only to win one of their last three matches to formally secure a place in the Final Four, which is a one-game affair.
Ateneo is coming off a 2-1 victory over Adamson University last Sunday and remains unbeaten in the second round.
The Tamaraws are fresh from their biggest win of the season, a masterful 5-1 conquest of the Bulldogs last Sunday which might possibly be the turning point in the race for the No. 4 seed in the semifinals.
FEU avenged its stunning 1-3 loss to NU in the first round.
The Tamaraws hope to duplicate their 2-0 win over the Eagles in the first round.
Out of the running with 12 points in sixth place, the Growling Tigers will try to play as spoiler to the Bulldogs' post-season aspirations.