UAAP Final Four scenarios: Best and worst case for each team

UAAP Season 81 Power Rankings (1:34)

Kevin EboƱa, Aljun Melecio, and Bright Akhuetie break into this week's UAAP Power Rankings. (1:34)

The UAAP Season 81 Final Four is just around the corner. With two teams already in the coveted top four and another assured of at least a playoff, the race gets tighter for the last remaining slot.

The Ateneo Blue Eagles were the first team to clinch a postseason berth. The defending champions continue to lead the league with a 10-2 record and are on pace for a twice-to-beat advantage. The Adamson Falcons, 9-3, were the second team to enter after their victory over the UST Growling Tigers last Wednesday. Right on their heels are the De La Salle Green Archers who boast an 8-4 card and are guaranteed a playoff for the Final Four.

The only teams that have been eliminated from the race are the UE Red Warriors (1-11) and NU Bulldogs (3-9).

The last remaining slot will therefore be a toss-up among the FEU Tamaraws (6-6), UP Fighting Maroons (6-6), and UST (5-7).

Here are the best and worst case scenarios for the six teams in Final Four contention:

Ateneo Blue Eagles

Current record: 10-2

Highest possible seed: 1st

Lowest possible seed: 3rd

Remaining Games: DLSU, UST

If the Blue Eagles hold on to win their last two games, they will not only obtain a twice-to-beat incentive but will also finish the elimination round as the number one team. Their next two games won't be easy pickings with a titanic matchup against their archrival Green Archers looming and the hungry Growling Tigers waiting in their last outing.

Should Ateneo split its remaining games, it will still finish in the top two. However, back-to-back losses will mean a possible third seed with a 10-4 card since it might end up with the same record as La Salle (and if Adamson goes 11-3). If a twice-to-beat advantage is at stake between teams with identical records, they will have to play a knockout game to determine who gets the incentive.

Adamson Falcons

Current record: 9-3

Highest possible seed: 1st

Lowest possible seed: 3rd

Remaining Games: UE, FEU

The Falcons are headed to the Final Four for an unprecedented third straight time but this season has the potential to be their best elimination round finish in the past three years. In Seasons 79 and 80, they finished fourth and third respectively, losing both times to the Archers in the semis. If they could win their last two games this season (and Ateneo loses), they can catapult themselves all the way to the top with an 11-3 record. A split or two losses would allow an opening for La Salle to barge in. Still, the worst possible outcome for the Final Four-bound Falcons is the third seed.

De La Salle Green Archers

Current record: 8-4

Highest possible seed: 1st

Lowest possible seed: 4th

Remaining Games: Ateneo, UP

A victory for the Green Archers this Sunday will mean more than just getting the upper hand against their rivals as beating the Blue Eagles would put them officially in the Final Four. Another win in their last assignment versus UP registers a 10-4 record at the end of the elimination round. So at least a win in their last two games gives them a fighting chance to be in the top two.

Back-to-back losses, however, would plummet them to a total of six losses. If this happens, and FEU and UP also win their remaining games, a triple-tie will take place for all three teams with identical 8-6 cards. The quotient system will then come into play. The team with the superior quotient will rise to third while the two other teams will slug it out in a playoff game.

FEU Tamaraws

Current record: 6-6

Highest possible seed: 4th

Lowest possible seed: 6th

Remaining Games: NU, ADU

The Tamaraws have had a forgettable second round so far and are hoping that their win over UE last weekend would finally turn their fortunes around. In the event that they win their remaining two contests, they can only go as high as the fourth seed. Even if La Salle loses its last two games and both of them end up with the same 8-6 records, the Green Archers will take the higher seed owing to their superior quotient.

But the Tamaraws have to be careful that they don't stumble in their remaining games. Another loss gives them their seventh defeat of the season which will make things difficult for them to enter the postseason. One more defeat and a pair of wins from UP (or even UST) can doom their playoff chances.

If UP and FEU end up with the same 8-6 card (and DLSU wins its games and sits at third), a playoff will be determined who gets the last Final Four slot.

UP Fighting Maroons

Current record: 6-6

Highest possible seed: 3rd

Lowest possible seed: 6th

Remaining Games: UST, DLSU

UP has the same predicament as FEU in that it must win its last two contests to avoid any complication of a postseason berth. The Fighting Maroons' next matchup versus the Tigers will be a critical one in the Final Four race. A win will move them a step closer to the top four and at the same time push back the Tigers' chances.

If the Fighting Maroons take care of UST and then topple La Salle, they can even reach third place. This happens if both the Archers and Tamaraws lose their remaining games. In this scenario, FEU will be out of the Final Four picture at 6-8. On the other hand, UP's two wins over the Archers in the elimination round will give them a higher quotient even though they'll finish with the same 8-6 records.

UST Growling Tigers

Current record: 5-7

Highest possible seed: 4th

Lowest possible seed: 6th

Remaining Games: UP, Ateneo

The Tigers have a tall order ahead of them. As mentioned earlier, their matchup with UP will be an important one. If they lose, that puts them with a 5-8 record and pushes the Fighting Maroons to 7-6, essentially closing the door on their Final Four hopes. With a win, they still have a chance but their last game will be a tough one as they have to go through the defending champions. The Tigers have to win at least one of their remaining games and hope that either FEU or UP lose a game.

Even though UST coach Aldin Ayo has consistently said that he's more focused on the development and growth of his players than a postseason berth, there's still a possibility that they can advance to the next stage.