DE La Salle battles Far Eastern University to start a virtual best-of-three playoffs series in the UAAP Season 76 men’s basketball tournament Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Green Archers and Tamaraws face off at 4 p.m. in a match-up between the two teams that completed a sweep of each of the two rounds this season.
Their first meeting actually serves as a playoff for the No. 2 spot in the Final Four and a twice-to-beat advantage over the losing team.
The Tamaraws completed a first-round sweep of the season, before the Archers did the same thing in the second round that resulted in both teams finishing with similar 10-4 (win-loss) record at the end of the eliminations.
But the Tamaraws have not played since September 11, or exactly 10 days prior to their meeting with the Archers. Their final outing came at the expense of the University of the Philippines.
FEU coach Nash Racela however, is not bothered by the long break, having gone through the same experience shortly after they swept the first round when the league took a two-week respite to give way to the country’s hosting of the Fiba-Asia Championship.
Racela though, hopes for a contrasting result this time as the Tamaraws started the second round by losing their first two assignments.
“The experience that we had before the second round started, I think it helped us a lot,” said Racela. “I hope they’ve learned their lessons as a team and as individuals.”
La Salle coach Juno Sauler said the team is looking forward to a playoff match for a twice-to-beat advantage as it hasn’t experienced the same situation before.
“It will be exciting for everyone. They (Tams) are a tough team. We just have to keep on improving on a daily basis,” Sauler said.
The two teams split their regular season head-to-head encounter.
FEU won the first game last July 13 after coming back in the final two minutes to come up with an 83-79 victory in overtime.
La Salle bounced back in the second meeting by holding off the Tamaraws, 75-66, last August 18.
“The first game is crucial. Hopefully, we will be able to play good team defense to have a better chance,” Racela said.