MANILA, Philippines -- Adamson University will not be lacking confidence when it plays Ateneo de Manila University in the Final 4 of UAAP Season 85 on Wednesday.
The Falcons are making their first Final 4 appearance since 2018, and immediately they are in a must-win situation against the top-seeded Blue Eagles. Ateneo, with its twice-to-beat advantage, needs just one victory to advance to the finals.
But Adamson is determined not just to force a deciding game, but to upset Ateneo all the way and claim the finals seat for themselves.
"Talunin [ang Ateneo] ng dalawang beses," said Adamson star Jerom Lastimosa when asked what he is most looking forward to in the Final 4.
"But it starts with one," his coach, Nash Racela, immediately added. "Isa-isa muna."
The Falcons took the long road to the Final 4. They were 4-6 midway through the second round before winning three straight games to fuel their semis drive, then stunned De La Salle University in the knockout for the last Final 4 spot.
Racela, in his second season of coaching Adamson, said that while they are happy to be back in the semifinals, his team will first "check our emotions."
"We don't want to be on a high because may trabaho pa. And we're still gonna play Wednesday and the weekend," he vowed.
A second game, if necessary, will be played on Sunday, December 11 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
It will still be an uphill climb for the Soaring Falcons, who have not beaten Ateneo since Season 81. Ateneo routed them in the first round, 76-55, and Adamson's rally in the second round fell short as the Blue Eagles held on for a 66-61 win.
"We're hoping," Racela said. "We know how tough they are as a team."
"But again, you know, nothing is impossible in this world. We look at our run, a month ago, we were down, di ba?" he pointed out. "All of a sudden, we made a run which surprised a lot of people, that's why we're now in the Final 4."
"So we have that mentality that, you know, walang impossible… Hindi imposible manalo, as long as we do our part."
UAAP Season 85 is streaming on iWantTFC every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.