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UAAP Season 86: Who will bring home the men’s basketball championship?

by Bryan Gadingan

THE UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament finals will be a winner-take-all affair when the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons and De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers square off at 6 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Green Archers bounced back in Game 2 on Sunday, 82-60, just like the Taft-based club vowed after suffering a catastrophic 97-67 blowout Game 1 loss, the largest in UAAP history.

UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde wants to put their Game 2 loss behind and looks forward to their second chance of avenging their Season 85 championship loss.

“Well, it is what it is kung ano nangyari today (Sunday). We’re not gonna make any reasons kung ano turnout ng game today, rather we’re gonna look inside us, kung ano dapat namin ginawa. Ang importante dito may Game 3 pa so nandoon pa yung chance namin. Yun lang, learn from it lang,” he said.

Looking back, UP has had 1-1 scorecards in Game 3’s: the Diliman-based team ended its 36-year title curse in the Season 84 bubble by ousting Ateneo in overtime on a game-winning triple by JD Cagulangan. Last season, however, the Blue Eagles won Game 3 to recover the throne.

Today’s final match will be La Salle’s seventh Game 3 in the Final Four era, the most by any club in the league. The Green Archers are 3-5 all-time, with their most recent finals appearance ending in an 86-88 loss to the Blue Eagles in 2017.

DLSU head coach Topex Robinson said they’re ready for what UP will throw at them in the championship game. “We know that it’s gonna be hard. Winning a championship is gonna be hard. Playing against the top college team in the country right now is gonna be hard,” he said.

Sa amin, at the moment we just keep on enjoying that game, the game that we love, the game that has been good to us, and not shy away from the responsibility of the result of the ball game,” added Robinson.

Will the UP Fighting Maroons’ past repeat itself? Or will the DLSU Green Archers finally win a championship after seven years? 

Given that everything would be on the line tonight, we can expect that the Katipunan and Taft teams will leave everything they have on the hard court.

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