How could La Salle still make the UAAP 81 Final Four?
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 14, 2018 09:58 PM
Aljun Melecio and La Salle still have to await the decision in FEU's game over Adamson on Sunday
De La Salle University assured itself of at least a playoff for a Final Four berth in UAAP 81 last Wednesday.
A week later, however, they are in danger of missing the playoffs entirely.
Losing by double-digits to the University of the Philippines on Wednesday at the MOA Arena, the Green Archers ended the elimination round at 8-6.
Technically, they are tied with the Fighting Maroons in the standings and Far Eastern University still has a chance to join them there if it downs Adamson University on Sunday.
In case of that three-way tie, though, UP has the highest quotient among the three teams and has therefore taken the third-seed. Meaning, La Salle and FEU will have to figure in a playoff for the fourth and final playoff berth in such scenario.
That is if, and only if, the Tamaraws triumph over the already second-seed Soaring Falcons.
Whatever it is, it’s safe to say that the Taft-based team has no idea what will happen in the coming four days.
Nonetheless, whether there will be a knockout bout with FEU or not, head coach Louie Gonzalez isn’t sweating. “Sa akin, ‘di naman problema yung kalaban,” he told reporters after their loss to the Fighting Maroons – their second straight to end the eliminations.
He then continued, “Ang problema sa ngayon, yung team ko e. Yung integration namin.”
Coach Louie was talking about the chemistry his wards will have to work on with returning reinforcement Taane Samuel. As he put it, “Kahit na wala kaming (reinforcement), nagko-compete yung team ko. Dapat ngayong may (reinformcent) na ako, dapat mas lumakas.”
He then continued, “Kailangan naming ma-integrate si Taane and use it to our advantage, not to our disadvantage. Once naglalaro siya, dapat mas lumalakas kami.”
Samuel missed 12 games of the season due to a Jones fracture on his left foot.
He was back in action for the green and white up against archrival Ateneo de Manila University and then versus the Fighting Maroons – both matchups ending in losses. “The four guys around him need to figure out also kung ano yung adjustment,” coach Louie said.
The good news is that he and his wards have more than enough time to figure things out.
The possible playoff between La Salle and FEU is scheduled next Wednesday.
And if the Tamaraws lose, they will have even more time to figure things out as by then, they will be the fourth-seed and will take on the top-seed Blue Eagles the Saturday after next.
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