NU, La Salle look to extend winning streaks
MANILA, Philippines – The National University (NU) Bulldogs and the De La Salle Green Archers are aiming to extend their winning streaks and bolster their Final Four chances when they take on separate opponents in the UAAP Season 76 tournament Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Bulldogs, winners of five straight games, will take on the hard-luck UP Fighting Maroons who have yet to taste victory this season.
“We can’t overlook any team,” NU coach Eric Altamirano said following their victory over University of the East last Saturday. “We have to value every game. There has to be a sense of urgency in all our games this elimination round to be able to reach our target.”
The Bulldogs have already overtaken the FEU Tamaraws for the top spot in the league standings, although Altamirano stressed that his team is still taking it one game at a time.
“I think the goal is to get the one or the two (spots). Get to the top two, para may twice-to-beat advantage ka,” he said.
Meanwhile, La Salle will face a slumping University of the East Red Warriors squad who will be playing without stalwart center Charles Mammie and guard Ralf Olivares, who are both serving suspensions.
The Red Warriors have lost back-to-back games, and their chances of making the Final Four are fading, although coach Boycie Zamar is not giving up hope.
“Four games pa 'yan,” he said. “As long as nandoon lang kami sa top four. ‘Yun lang ‘yung kakatukin namin ng kakatukin. Hindi pa bumubukas eh. Hinahanap ko pa ‘yung susi. Mahahanap din namin ‘yan. Hopefully, we’ll find a way.”
UE will welcome back defensive-minded guard Lord Casajeros, who served a one-game suspension in their game against NU last Saturday. Mammie is serving the second of a two-game suspension, while Olivares is serving the first game of his own two-game ban.
Meanwhile, the Green Archers have all the momentum on their side after beating archrivals Ateneo, 66-64, in an emotional clash last Sunday.
“With the standings of all the other teams, it’s a close fight,” La Salle coach Juno Sauler said. “Especially in the last three or four games, every game is important.”
The NU-UP game tips off at 2 p.m., followed by La Salle-UE at 4 p.m.