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Second round of UAAP elimination resumes on Saturday

WITH UP rising as the only team to create a separation from the pack, the second round is expected to feature a royal rumble en route to the Final Four. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ RUSSELL PALMA

AFTER an unpredictable first round, teams get a much-needed calm before the storm as the UAAP Season 85 will not resume to action until this weekend for the crucial second phase of the elimination round.

Originally slated to play during Wednesdays, the UAAP is taking an off for now to give squads ample time to recharge and prepare for the resumption on Saturday featuring La Salle (3-4) against Santo Tomas (1-6) and Ateneo (5-2) versus at Adamson (3-4).

Reigning champion and pacesetting University of the Philippines (6-1) then follows suit on Sunday against National U (5-2) in a revenge bid while University of the East (3-4) clashes against Far Eastern U (2-5).

With UP rising as the only team to create a separation from the pack, the second round is expected to feature a royal rumble en route to the Final Four as perennial contenders stumbled while new forces sprung surprises and rose to the ladder.

One of them was La Salle, which after ruling the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup got off to a shaky start only at 3-4 card for a share of fourth to sixth spot with Adamson and this season’s revelation UE.

FEU, owner of the longest active Final Four streak (8 seasons in a row), also tripped to 0-5 salvo before stringing two straight wins to stay alive while NU and UE made heads turn with an impressive first-round play.

NU, then the hottest squad with four straight wins, could have actually snatched the No. 1 spot from UP if not for a 47-44 loss against FEU entering the second round.

Coach Goldwin Monteverde said the unpredictable first-round result was what he expected as early as the preseason, thus bracing his wards for an even all-out war as teams gun for each other’s heads in playoff positioning.

Other notable schedules in the second round feature the iconic Ateneo-La Salle rivalry match on Nov. 5 as well as the Battle of Katipunan II between Season 84 finalists Ateneo and UP on Nov. 26 to end the eliminations.

The UAAP, which is tipped to lend Carl Tamayo, Kevin Quiambao and Ange Kouame, will take a break from Nov. 6 to 16 to give way for the campaign of Gilas Pilipinas in the fifth window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers slated Nov. 10-13 in the Middle East. — John Bryan Ulanday

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