By Kristel Satumbaga
La Salle 5-6
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
10:30 a.m. – NU vs UP
12:30 p.m. – Adamson vs FEU
4 p.m. – La Salle vs UST
Five teams headed by University of the Philippines seek to bolster their Final Four drives Wednesday in UAAP season 82 men’s basketball at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Maroons aim to improve their 7-4 mark and remain at second place in the 10:30 a.m. confrontation with eliminated National University Bulldogs, while the Adamson Falcons try to breathe life into a flickering semifinal bid against the Far Eastern University Tamaraws at 12:30 p.m.
Also out to energize Final Four campaigns are University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle when they clash at 4 p.m.
Eyes will be on last year’s finalist UP, which is leaning on an 81-77 come-from-behind triumph over Adamson to inch closer to early semifinalist Ateneo (12-0).
Apart from go-to guys Kobe Paras and Bright Akhuetie, UP coach Bo Perasol will rely on Jun Manzo following the latter’s clutch plays against the Falcons.
“Napakaganda ng ipinakita niya, not just with his scoring but his leadership inside,” Perasol said of Manzo, who spearheaded a 16-2 run late in the game against Adamson that turned things around for the Maroons.
Meanwhile, the UAAP suspended for one game University of the East’s Nick Abanto after a non-call was ungraded to unsportsmanlike foul in their game against Ateneo last Sunday.
In the 6:33 mark of the first quarter, Abanto hit Ateneo’s Will Navarro in the head with a forearm during a rebound play. Navarro stayed on the floor for a few anxious moments before being helped out. He didn’t return to the game.
“Upon multiple review of the incident, we saw that there was intent by Mr. Abanto to hit Mr. Navarro that caused him to fall and eventually be carried out of the playing court,” UAAP commissioner Jensen Ilagan said in a statement.
“The action was unprovoked and his intention to hurt was apparent. Therefore, an unsportsmanlike foul shall be assessed against him.”
The officials who called the game and let an unsportsmanlike foul get by them were reportedly reprimanded.
It would be the second unsportsmanlike foul on Abanto after incurring one in the last 2:03 of the game, earning him an automatic one-game ban under league rules.
Navarro, meanwhile, is still under observation but Ateneo team officials said CT scan findings showed no sign of a concussion.
Abanto will miss UE’s game against FEU on Sunday.