Posted Dec 7th 2013
FEU looks to maintain winning streak vs. La Salle
By Paolo Mariano Posted Jul 13th 2013
One winning streak has got to give as the league-leading Far Eastern University (FEU) and De La Salle University cross paths on Saturday in the continuation of the men’s seniors basketball tournament of UAAP Season 76 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Tamaraws, still unblemished in three games, and the Green Archers, winners of back-to-back after dropping their first assignment, face off in the main event at 4 p.m.
FEU has been on a rampaging start this season, averaging 81.0 PPG, number one in the league, and a winning margin of 11.0 points.
The deadeye duo of Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia has been playing beautiful music together, combining for all-around melodies of 36.6 PPG, 14.7 RPG, 8.3 APG, and 4.2 SPG.
The boys from Morayta have also gained notable support from Mike Tolomia, Carl Cruz, and Christian Sentcheu, who swatted a league season-high five blocks against University of the Philippines.
FEU rookie head coach Nash Racela knows though that it’s too premature to pound their chests.
“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” said Racela. “We cherish every win, but as you know, any team can beat you.”
Last season, the Tamaraws got off to a 4-0 start but faltered in the end, losing their last three outings, including the do-or-die playoff for the last Final Four slot against, incidentally, the Green Archers. So, this will also be a revenge of sorts for the Green and Gold.
La Salle, meanwhile, is slowly finding its character under new drillmaster Juno Sauler.
The reticent coach relied on a tight rotation in their pair of wins, with seven players averaging at least 20.5 minutes per game. He, however, was tight-lipped about his game plan versus FEU.
“I can’t talk about our preparations because I haven’t seen them play. I haven’t studied FEU yet,” said Sauler.
Jeron Teng, Almond Vosotros, and rookie Jason Perkins are expected to carry the offensive load anew for the Green and White, with the rejuvenated Luigi Dela Paz and much-improved Arnold Van Opstal, who had a career-high 18 points versus Ateneo de Manila University, providing support on both ends.
FEU and La Salle are the top offensive units so far this season, but it will be a battle of contrasting styles. The former leads the league in perimeter points with 35.0 PPG, while the latter likes to pound the ball inside for 38.7 PPG, tops among all teams.
Turnovers will also play a factor in the match-up. The Green Archers average 18.7 miscues an outing and the Tamaraws will surely capitalize on every opportunity with a league-leading 19.7 points off errors.
The two teams split their elimination round series last year but La Salle got the final laugh after taking the aforementioned playoff, 69-66.
The game will air live on Studio 23, BALLS HD 167, and uaapsports.tv with a replay on the same day at 10 p.m. on BALLS SkyCable channel 34/Destiny Cable channel 36.
La Salle early lead, a good sign for retaining overall title