IN NUMBERS: FEU vs La Salle – UAAP Season 81
MANILA, Philippines – The race to the UAAP Season 81 Final Four is as rocky as it can be, and the FEU Tamaraws and De La Salle Green Archers are right in the eye of the storm.
FEU (5-5) is currently riding a three-game losing streak after ending the first round at the top of the heap. Meanwhile, La Salle (5-4) has been alternating wins and losses in what is supposed to be a rebuilding season after a well-documented mass exodus of talent.
With Ateneo (8-2) and Adamson (7-2) comfortably poised to run away with the top two spots, a whopping 5 teams are left to fight over the remaining two playoff seeds, including UP (5-5), UST (4-5) and NU (3-6).
As such, every win – and loss – from here on is extremely crucial, as are the players counted on by their teams to deliver.
Now more than ever, stretch forward Arvin Tolentino will be leaned upon to dig FEU out of a hole he was partially responsible in creating.
Certainly, Tolentino's team-high 11.7 points per game was sorely missed by the Tamaraws, who averaged just 69 points in 3 games he sat out due to suspension.
His second-best 5.3 rebounding average is also a lot more valued now that Orizu is out. FEU is already the second-worst rebounding team as it is, tallying just 43.2 boards a game.
All Tolentino needs to do is stay out of more trouble and damage the other team, not his own.
Meanwhile, Orizu’s absence could only mean well for the towering Santi Santillan, who now creates an oversized mismatch along with fellow towers Justine Baltazar and Brandon Bates.
While Santillan’s size factor, rebounding and defense remain unquestioned, La Salle could use a bit more scoring from him, especially since combo guard Aljun Melecio is already squeezing out every point he can as their top scorer. A few more close-range floaters and drives could certainly help a tall team that is oddly the third-worst in points in the paint at just 32.2 a game.
As the team’s third option, a scoring burst from Santillan could easily spell doom for the Tamaraws and help the Archers reclaim the third spot.
With the tailend of the playoff seeding shaping up to be a brutal neck-and-neck finish, FEU and La Salle will really need all the help they can get. – Rappler.com
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