FAR Eastern University and University of the East collide on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena, both looking to move up the leaderboard with a slim chance of taking a share of the lead in the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament.
The Tamaraws and the Red Warriors, holding similar 2-1 win-loss slates, enter the 2 p.m. game coming off contrasting results. FEU defeated University of the Philippines, 85-71, while UE bowed to La Salle, 60-58, on Sunday.
Ateneo and National University are on top with 3-1 win-loss cards, with the Blue Eagles idle and the Bulldogs looking to take solo lead as it clashes with lowly Adamson in the 4 p.m. match.
But if NU drops the game, the winner of the FEU-UE match will join the Blue Eagles in first place.
“From the beginning, sinabi ko naman na UE is a very strong team,” said FEU coach Nash Racela, wary of a Warriors squad that is raring to bounce back and avoid suffering back-to-back losses.
If not for La Salle’s come-from-behind win, the story of Sunday’s UAAP games would have been how UE employed its fullcourt press to near perfection to force the Green Archers to 36 turnovers in the game.
The Tamaraws hope the trend won’t continue after committing 19 errors against UP.
“The target is 12 lang every game. Hindi bale kung forced, but a lot of our turnovers are unforced,” said Racela.
FEU, playing the second game of a back-to-back, will also have to contain UE imports Charles Mammie and Moustapha Arafat as well as quick guards led by Roi Sumang.
“Mammie is capable of dominating inside. Arafat is very active on both ends. I consider them super imports. And now they are supported by good locals. They can shoot from the outside plus the leadership of Sumang.
“Medyo mabigat para sa amin especially sunod-sunod games namin. But again, we just have to find ways,” said Racela.