What a season we are having. UAAP Season 76: The drama never ends.
We’re getting close to the Final Four, teams have already dropped out of the race while others are still deadlocked for the top spot. While the giants are duking it out on top, the open fourth spot has been so drama filled. Teams trying to stay alive and trying to come back to life, I need to borrow a very corny yet familiar phrase which I will probably be sued for trademark infringement for, “We’ve got it all for you.”
So let’s take a look at how all this hullabaloo affected our teams:
8. UP Fighting Maroons (0-12) Previous Rank: 8
After a dozen tries, the State U still can’t find their winning groove, but not for lack of trying. Their last game against UST saw the lowest offensive production in UAAP history ever since the league began computerizing statistics in the early 2000’s. With only Sam Marata as their consistent scorer and Kyles Lao (though promising) still wiping milk off his lips, UP simply lacks the pieces it takes to compete against the teams in the UAAP.
7. Adamson Soaring Falcons (4-9) Previous Rank: 7
They try and try but this once energetic and motivated team is running on fumes at this point. After the announcement of Coach Leo regarding a possible coaching change (nothing is final yet despite what media outlets insist), the boys are now going through a long final two games, one of which they already lost. The talent is there for the Falcons, what they lack is the maturity and motivation to hang with the big boys of the league. Right now, they’re already thinking of next year.
6. UE Red Warriors (5-7) Previous Rank: 5
Now mathematically out of the race, Coach Zamar just wants the Warriors to remember that they have come a long way from the team they were a year ago. After losing the game to Ateneo and losing Roi Sumang to injury, the Warriors can still end the season, looking up at their record, knowing they’ve caught people’s attentions and improved from their previous record. Their final games against Adamson and UP will have no bearing toward the results of the Final Four, or will they?
5. Ateneo Blue Eagles (7-5) Previous Rank: 4
Oh Bo is Ateneo in for a photo finish for the Final Four race. Their annual rivalry game against La Salle may have ended with Teng stealing the win and Coach Bo into a scuffle with a fan, but they immediately bounced back to put UE out of their misery. Ateneo has the best set of players in the UAAP right now when it comes to Final Four experience as they have champions and finals MVPs in their ranks. If they make it to that fourth spot, they will be a very scary opponent for any team. #6 is still very much possible.
4. FEU Tamaraws (9-4) Previous Ranks 5
Their domination over the first round is paying off for them right now. Despite winning only their second game of the entire second round, the FEU Tamaraws have clinched a sure spot in the Final Four. Their second half woes put them in a three way deadlock that might see them not have a twice-to-beat advantage once the playoffs start. Coach Nash is confident, however, that the Morayta boys will have their game back on track just in time to bring the trophy home to the far east.
3. UST Growling Tigers (7-5) Previous Rank 3
The Tigers could not afford to lose another game if they wanted to make a bid for the Final Four and boy did they fight for it. The Tigers are now on a three game winning streak after manhandling UP to tie Ateneo at 4th in the standings. UST’s next opponents are DLSU and finally their sole rival for the last spot, Ateneo. Their fate is clearly in their hands as two wins would ensure a ticket back to the Final Four.
2. NU Bulldogs (9-4) Previous Rank 1
The Bulldogs have re-invented themselves, whether it’s a function of Coach Eric drawing up the right plays for the right people at the right time or simply the players learning to accept their roles, the Bulldogs are living up to their “contender” status and have a three-way-tie to prove it. Their latest hiccup may have come in the form of a green team from Taft, but it wasn’t a game they couldn’t have won had a few plays gone their way down the stretch. Expect NU to close out the eliminations strong and possibly on top.
1. DLSU Green Archers (9-4) Previous Rank 2
Peaking at the right time, the Archers are unbeaten in the second round thanks mostly to stellar end-game poise by both players and their Coach Juno Sauler. Especially against Ateneo where cooler heads prevailed, La Salle showed the UAAP why they are insulted whenever anyone talks about potential champions and doesn’t mention them. In their last game against NU, Jeron Teng who is notorious for missing key free throws made four of four shots among other great plays to win it for the green and white. When a team is hitting shots they used to struggle with, you know they’ll be tough to beat.