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UST, La Salle begin finals showdown - UAAP Season 76

UST, La Salle begin finals showdown

By Josiah Albelda Posted Oct 2nd 2013

The spotlight will be on brothers Jeron and Jeric Teng as they lead their respective teams when De La Salle University and the University of Santo Tomas collide in Game 1 of the UAAP 76 Men's Srs. Basketball Finals.

Odds are almost even when De La Salle University and University of Santo Tomas take the court for their 76th UAAP men's basketball finals showdown on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Expect a sea of yellow and green to fill the Big Dome as two of the most storied UAAP teams slug it out for the chance to be named the new champion for the first time in six years. 

For Growling Tigers forward Kevin Ferrer, it was destiny that brought UST -- in danger of getting eliminated twice before the playoffs -- to the Last Dance.

"Lahat kami believer," Ferrer said after booking the finals ticket. "Gagawa kami ng history. Para kay Jeric Teng, sa graduating leaders, sa leaders namin."

Less than a month ago, the Tigers were on the brink of not even qualifying for the Final Four, when, with only four games left on the calendar, they were stuck with a 5-5 record.

But the Espana-based squad has strung up five wins in their last six games to slay giants and move to a finals battle that they never expected they would get into.

"Actually, di ko alam kung aabot pa kami (sa Final Four) e," said a sobbing Pido Jarencio. "Hindi ko akalaing aabot pa kami ng finals. Syempre maraming tao ang nagduda sa kakayanan ko. 

Meanwhile, the Green Archers are the hottest commodity in the UAAP today, having won all nine of their last outings to go from under the radar to the top of the heap.

The mental toughness instilled by coach Juno Sauler has gone far for La Salle, who, not too long ago, crumbled in the pressure of close games.

Now, they have forward Jeron Teng, who has proven to possess nerves of steel, and Jason Perkins, the hard-nosed Fil-American who grinded his way into a spot in the Mythical Team.

"Every game we have to give our best," shared Teng, who will be meeting his graduating brother Jeric in the title clash. "We have to use it as an opportunity to get more experience."

The game will air live on Studio 23, BALLS HD 167, and and DZMM 630 AM with a same day replay at 9 p.m. on BALLS SkyCable channel 34 or Destiny Cable channel 36.