Ea­gles shoot for Top 2; Archers aim for Fi­nal 4

The Philippine Star - - SPORTS - By OLMIN LEYBA

Holder Ate­neo and archri­val La Salle mix it up in yet an­other ti­tanic show­down to­day with so much at stake in their re­spec­tive play­offs drive in UAAP Sea­son 81 men’s bas­ket­ball tour­ney

The red-hot Ea­gles (10-2) gun for a guar­an­teed Top 2 seed­ing and twice-to­beat ad­van­tage in the Fi­nal Four in the 4 p.m. ri­valry game at Smart Araneta Coli­seum while the streak­ing Archers (84) seek a has­sle-free en­try into the Last-4 with pay­back vic­tory.

“It’s re­ally a big test for us kasi dito namin malala­man how far we’ve gone since our blowout loss sa kanila (55-71 in the first round),” said DLSU coach Louie Gon­za­lez, whose wards warmed up for the Ea­gles by beat­ing their last three op­po­nents.

The Ea­gles en­ter this blue-ver­sus­green en­tan­gle­ment on a five-game roll and back to full strength with the re­turn of twins Matt and Mike Ni­eto from ill­ness. To gear up for DLSU, the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons played ef­fi­cient bas­ket­ball in a 62-48 drub­bing of sec­ond-run­ning Adamson over the week­end in An­tipolo.

Even with all hands on board, the Katipunan-based cagers brace for a war with the vastly im­proved Archers.

“It’s go­ing to be a tough game. We saw their last games, they’re im­prov­ing, they’re re­ally gear­ing up with their level of play for the Fi­nal Four,” said AdMU as­sis­tant coach Sandy Ares­pa­cochaga. “So we have to ap­proach it like a cham­pi­onship game al­ready.”

“Basta Ate­neo, magha­handa talaga kami. It’s a big game, we’re try­ing to see kung ano (na) kami as a team,” said Gon­za­lez.

“Lag­ing sinasabi ni coach ev­ery game is im­por­tant kasi makaka-af­fect yun sa Fi­nal Four so kailan­gang ipanalo as much as pos­si­ble yung game,” said DLSU vet­eran Aljun Mele­cio.

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