For most hoop-crazed fans, there’s nothing more exciting than the UAAP men’s basketball finals. School spirits are high, the tension between teams are at its peak, and the roars of the crowd are louder than ever. Each year, it’s what college hoop fans wait for, to see which university will be crowned as the king cagers of UAAP basketball.
Right now, the De La Salle University Green Archers can catch a short breath after a come-from-behind win against Adamson during their semi-finals matchup. It was a true test of composure as the defending champions inched their way through the explosive Falcons defense, eventually pulling through during the last five minutes of regulation.
They now wait to see whom they’ll be facing in this year’s edition of the UAAP finals. Will it be their rivals, the Ateneo Blue Eagles? Or the feisty FEU Tamaraws? Here is PlayPH’s take on the two possible matchups.
REDEMPTION TIME: DLSU vs FEU
Early this year, the Green Archers and Tamaraws were involved in a scuffle during a friendly charity game in Davao. From then on, games between the two teams became highly anticipated.
Some short history on the DLSU-FEU rivalry: during the 77th season of the UAAP, it was FEU, Mac Belo in particular, who broke the hearts of the Archers. Belo hit a game-winning corner three to nail the coffin on the DLSU championship campaign.
With fresh talent playing on both teams, and a heightened series backstory, this finals matchup will be worth watching. Will De La Salle redeem themselves against the Tamaraws? Or will FEU make their mark as a true championship team?
A TIMELESS RIVALRY: DLSU vs ADMU
The DLSU-ADMU rivalry could arguably be, one of the oldest ongoing sports rivalries in the entire country. For as long as fans can remember, La Salle and Ateneo games have given birth to some of the UAAP’s classic championship moments (The Larry Fonacier Blocks on Cardona, L.A. Tenorio’s 30-point rookie performance, and even Ritualo’s dagger in the finals of 2001).
During their first meeting this year, it was Ateneo sitting victorious after Matt Nieto made two crucial free throws to give the Eagles a one-point win over DLSU. When the second round came, it was La Salle’s MVP Ben Mbala carrying the team on his shoulders and escaping with a 79-76 win against the Eagles, denying them an elimination round sweep.
Since the early days of the NCAA, it’s always been the two universities clashing in the court. To this day, it’s DLSU ahead of the rivalry’s championship count with a 5-4 lead. Another matchup this year could give the Eagles the chance to tie the score. At the very least, fans can expect each player to give out their all, to carve out their names into the long list of historic La Salle-Ateneo moments.
The Ateneo Blue Eagles and Far Eastern University Tamaraws will play Game 2 of the semi-finals on Wedensday, November 22. Winner to advance against DLSU in the finals.