MANILA, Philippines – It has been 12 years since the UAAP men’s basketball tournament showcased a stepladder semifinal battle.
The format kicks off when a team completes a sweep of the elimination round. And this year, the Ateneo Blue Eagles pulled off the rare feat.
Behind the usual reliables led by Ange Kouame and Thirdy Ravena, the defending champions completed a perfect 14-0 run in the elimination round to clinch an outright championship seat, leaving the 3 other semifinalists to slug it out for the last title berth.
The Season 82 semifinals kicks off on Wednesday, November 6 with No. 3 FEU battling fourth-ranked UST. Both teams wrapped up their elimination campaigns with 8-6 records, but the Tamaraws earned the higher seed due to a superior quotient.
That ranking hardly matters, though, as the Tamaraws and the Tigers clash in a knockout match.
The winner of the duel will advance against the No. 2 UP Fighting Maroons, who will hold a twice-to-beat advantage in the November 10 match.
A UP win will propel the Maroons to a second straight title showdown versus Ateneo.
But if the lower seed triumphs against UP in their first meeting, a do-or-die contest for the last championship slot will be played on November 13.
The best-of-three Finals gets going on November 16. – Rappler.com