UNIVERSITY of the Philippines (UP) and De La Salle clash in a no-tomorrow Game 3 for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 86 men’s basketball crown Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
They’re practically starting from scratch as the race-to-two Finals have gone to the limit with a gargantuan crowd expected to pack the Big Dome for the 6 p.m. game.
“We know that it’s going to be hard, winning a championship is going to be hard,” said coach Topex Robinson, whose Green Archers found their mark with pinpoint accuracy in Game 2 last Sunday, 82-60.
“Playing against the top college team in the country right now is going be hard,” he said. “But for us, we just keep on enjoying the game, the game that we love.”
He added: “The game that has been good to us and not shy away from the responsibility of the result.”
UP was honed to celebrate Sunday after its 97-67 Game 1 victory, the league’s biggest winning margin in memory in a Finals series, last Wednesday, but was halted to a screech by a vengeance-reeking Green Archers side.
“We’re going to look inside us, what we need to do,” UP coach Goldwyn Monteverde said. “What’s important is there’s this Game Three and we still have a chance.”
National University, meanwhile, goes for an eighth-straight women’s crown against University of Santo Tomas at 12 noon in Game 3 of their own series also at the Big Dome.
Monteverde and the Fighting Maroons, however, have to contend with Robinson and the Green Archers who have won all their games at the Araneta Coliseum—they won all their six games from the eliminations in the Cubao arena.
UP, too, is 1-1 in Game 3s—the Fighting Maroons beat the Ateneo Blue Eagles in ending a 36-year drought for only their second UAAP crown in Season 84, but lost to the same Katipunan neighbor last season.
The Green Archers? They’re on their ninth Game 3 appearance—the most by any team in the league—and are 3-5, losing to the Blue Eagles in their most recent Finals appearance in 2017.