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La Salle, FEU duel for last twice-to-beat edge

By Anthony Divinagracia Posted Sep 21st 2013

La Salle and FEU meet anew in a crucial rubber match at 4 p.m. to settle which team gains a decisive psychological edge heading into the Final Four.

Who wants to be no.2?

De La Salle University and Far Eastern University (FEU) will put that question to bed today as they dispute the last twice-to-beat incentive entering the Final Four stage of the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament.

Both toting 10-4 slates, La Salle and FEU meet anew in a 4 p.m. rubber match at the Mall of Asia Arena to settle which team gains a decisive psychological edge heading into the Final Four joust.

The Archers are coming off a week-long rest after plastering fellow Final Four entrant University of Santo Tomas, 69-64, last Saturday.

Prior to that, the Tamaraws wrapped up their elimination campaign by drubbing University of the Philippines, 87-69, last Sept. 11.

Season 76 MVP Terrence Romeo registered his second 33-point performance this season, nailing 11 of 23 attempts against the lowly Maroons to virtually secure the league’s top individual award. He also tallied nine rebounds, five assists, and two steals in that outing.

Romeo also continues to get ample support from former MVP RR Garcia, Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy, Gryanne Mendoza, and sophomore wingman Mac Belo.

But Jeron Teng and company are no pushovers. Teng for his part has been clutch for La Salle for two straight games now. His noteworthy endgame heroics of late first cropped up against top-seeded National University via a game-winning putback to clinch La Salle’s ninth win.

"There wasn’t really any adjustment. We just took time and we just started to work on the things we need to improve on. They’re a tough team to beat. We’ll just have to keep on improving on a daily basis in practices and hopefully be ready for the series," La Salle coach Juno Sauler said.

Interestingly, FEU and La Salle completed a sweep each in the first and second rounds, respectively.

La Salle though boasts of a more potent roster on almost every spot – from the bigs, the wingmen, down to the guards. But the Archers are expected to dominate the inside against FEU’s thinner frontline with guys like Norbert Torres, Arnold Van Opstal, and Jason Perkins providin the stops and scoring underneath.

On the other hand, FEU enjoys a slight backcourt advantage, given the more experienced and steadier quarterbacking of the versatile trio of Garcia, Romeo, and Tolomia against the predictable outside games of Almond Vosotros, L.A. Revilla, and Thomas Torres.

"We should defend well as a team. La Salle overpowered us during teh eliminations and we're expecting them to try to do the same," FEU coach Nash Racela said. "Hopefully this time collectively we'll be able to stop them."

FEU and La Salle split their elimination-round meeting. The Tamaraws claimed the first round (83-79) before the Archers bounced back (75-66) in the second round.

The game will air live on Studio 23, BALLS HD 167 and with a same day replay tonight at 7:30p.m. on BALLS SkyCable channel 34/ Destiny Cable channel 36.