UAAP: FEU coach says he'll be 'surprised' if Ateneo loses an elimination round game

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 3) — Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws head coach Olsen Racela believes the Ateneo Blue Eagles are locked in for a Final Four spot in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 81.

"Everyone has a fair chance. But the one with the best chance is Ateneo," he said in a press conference Monday.

The 47-year-old FEU mentor even said that it's possible for the Blue Eagles to sweep the elimination round.

"I think I'll be surprised if they lose a game in the eliminations. After them, it's a fair fight."

Ateneo will be going into Season 81 with an intact roster bolstered by big man Angelo Kouame, SJ Belangel, Matthew Daves and William Navarro.

The Blue Eagles had a productive off season after winning a local preseason tournament and landing fourth in the 2018 William Jones Cup in Taiwan.

For his part, Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin downplayed what his colleagues were saying to minimize the pressure for his squad.

"I expect very tough competition. The coaches have obviously put a target on our back by saying that we are the best team. They are just trying to increase the pressure on us, and we need to ignore that and take them one game at a time," he said.

The Blue Eagles will begin their title-retention bid against the Adamson University Soaring Falcons on September 9 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

READ: UAAP to have exclusive group of referees in Season 81