FAR EASTERN University attempts to snap out of a slump when it plays Adamson on Saturday, but will have to do it with an undermanned line-up at the resumption of the UAAP Season 76 men’s basketball tournament.
After sweeping the first round, the Tamaraws have only won one of their five second-round games for an 8-4 win-loss record going into their 4 p.m. match-up against the Falcons at the Mall of Asia Arena.
To make matters woese, center Anthony Hargrove will not be available for the Adamson game after being slapped with a one-game suspension by UAAP commissioner Chito Loyzaga for his second unsportsmanlike foul.
Hargrove’s infraction occurred during their 79-78 double overtime defeat against University of Santo Tomas last Sunday.
Hargrove’s absence leaves a hole in the Tamaraws frontline, giving coach Nash Racela a big problem defensively with Adamson boasting of two big men in Ingrid Sewa and Rodney Brondial.
Sewa and Brondial were dominant in their last game against University of the Philippines last August 31, combining for 18 points and 33 rebounds in a 67-53 victory that snapped their six-game losing skid.
Racela is now hoping for a collective effort on defense to make up for Hargrove’s absence.
“It will be doubly hard neutralizing Sewa especially without Hargrove. But we will have a better chance if we play together defensively,” said Racela.
Stakes are high for FEU in the game as a victory over Adamson will give the Tamaraws a seat in the Final Four, an achievement they failed to accomplish last season.
“Struggles are part of life. You need to learn how to play through it or above it to be able to succeed, something we as a team are learning to do,” said Racela.
Adamson is already out of contention for a semifinal berth with a 4-8 win-loss slate.
In the first game, UST hopes to enhance its Final Four chances when it takes on UP at 2 p.m.
The Tigers have won two straight games to stay within range for a semifinal seat, tying Ateneo for fourth place with a 6-5 win-loss slate.
The Maroons have lost 11 games this season.