All roads in local basketball lead to the West Negros University Gym 5 p.m. tomorrow, as defending champion Mustangs will host University of St. La Salle Stingers in the do-or-die semifinal match of the NOPSSCEA 32nd Season men’s basketball tournament.
Stingers head coach Eugene Opu-an said his players are ready to give everything they have in tomorrow’s game, just like they did last Sunday when they foiled the Mustangs bid to secure the first finals berth with a 76-73 stunner.
Winless in the eliminations, Opu-an said they never lost hope and the September 23 win gave the Stingers back their confidence.
“We know we can do it and we will do our best to do it again tomorrow,” he said.
That the Stingers played well in their first encounter in the semifinals was acknowledged by Mustangs head coach Troy Sarabia, who said there will definitely be some adjustments on their play to prevent USLS from scoring a back-to-back win against WNU.
“La Salle played well and we had some problems on our defense. It will be an exciting game tomorrow and we are ready,” Sarabia said.
On the issue of homecourt advantage for the Mustangs, Opu-an said it is up to the USLS administration whether they will question the decision of the tournament officials to rule out the home-and-away format in the semifinals and the championship.
He added that the Stingers are ready to play against any team anywhere.
NOPSSCEA sports task force chairman Anthony Carlo Agustin, said it has been decided that all remaining games in men’s basketball will be played at the WNU Gym for logistical considerations.
He said the teams had agreed on the home-and-away format only during the eliminations and tournament officials have ruled that the semifinals and finals will be played at WNU.
The University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos Rams, who advanced to the finals after beating Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod Eagles in the semifinals match-up, had agreed to play at any venue due to the unavailability of the UNO-R Gym.
Game 1 will be on Sunday at 6:30 p.m., Game 2 on October 3 at 5 p.m, and if necessary, Game 3 will be played on October 5, also at 5 p.m., Agustin said.
BATTLE FOR THIRD PLACE
Agustin also announced that Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod Eagles will play against the loser in tomorrow’s game between the Stingers and Mustangs on Sunday at 5 p.m. before Game 1 of the best-of-three championship round.
Eagles coach Lorenzo Solinap said the Eagles are also ready to face their opponent and a second runner-up finish will not be too bad.
“We also finished third last year and we received good feedbacks this year. After NOPSSCEA we will be getting ready for the University Games,” Solinap said, referring to the National University Games that will be hosted by USLS on October 22-28.*NAB
back to top