Or will the Tamaraws bury Ateneo's 13-1 season for good?
Can FEU prevent another Ateneo-La Salle Dream Finals?
The Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles had a chance to go straight to the Finals had they swept the elimination rounds. They failed to do so. They also had the chance to go to the Finals during their first Final 4 match-up against the Far Eastern University Tamaraws. And yet, they failed. Horribly. Now? The Tamaraws have the one chance to do something unique: eliminate an Ateneo team that swept the season's first 13 games before losing to the De La Salle Green Archers in their final game.
The question is: Can the wards of Olsen Racela finally overcome the twice-to-beat disadvantage?
The answer is: Yes.
If you look back at how FEU defended Ateneo in the first game, Ateneo did make 10 shots from three but missed 22 shots. All in all, the Blue Eagles shot 36% from the field and that was one of the things that lost them the game.
Another thing that enabled FEU to forge a sudden-death match later was the notable contributions from Arvin Tolentino and Hubert Cani- both used to play for Ateneo before transferring to FEU. Tolentino, a Rookie of the Year awardee, scored 13 points while Cani provided the additional firepower off the bench to score 11 points. If anything, both former Eagles caused the biggest problems for Tab Baldwin and they will be a problem anew should Ateneo fails to defend later.
The question now for the Blue and White: Can they recover from their 2-game losing streak?
The answer is: Yes. Assuming they go back to how they won the season's first 13 games- by scoring more and shooting more efficiently.
Don't Count Ateneo Out. Just Yet.
After FEU handed out Ateneo its second consecutive defeat last Sunday on an 80-67 victory, some people were saying that Ateneo has already lost their killer instinct. While this may be true, we shouldn't be throwing Ateneo out of the picture. Just yet. Why?
Sure, Thirdy Ravena and company shot mostly bricks during the first game but once the shots start to drop for Anton Asistio and the rest of the shooters, they will be hard to stop. The key for Ateneo is really simple: Take as many open shots as you can. Build up confidence as they say.
For FEU, defense is an important key to beating an offense-oriented team like the Blue Eagles.
Ateneo fans can only hope that their team will rediscover how good their team was during their 13-game winning streak. Why? It will help them win later. And it will help them against La Salle in the Finals- should both teams meet again.