Last Saturday, the only thing that the Eagles needed to do to finally nail the twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder playoffs was to beat the sorriest team in the history of the league (not necessarily for this season - that honor belongs to another team).
But of course, they did not.
Yesterday, they had to play a PEPT Squad that is obviously aching for payback, after the two similarly painful losses inflicted on them by the Eagles in the elimination rounds. The game was not so much different from the first two games - only this time, it was Ateneo who blinked first, and it cost them dearly.
(Brian Ilad also did not play - he was serving his automatic one-game suspension after being ejected from the DLRT-UE game, after hitting UE's Brian Fampulme, who had his back turned on Ilad, while Ilad was on the bench. It was reported earlier that he has likewise been slapped a five-game suspension on top of the automatic one-game ban, thus ending his illustrious one-year UAAP career. Note that Ilad had actually consumed four years of eligibility in another league with the Philippine College of Criminology, which explains why he looks like a police sketch.)
Now, the Eagles would have to contend with the defending champions (who just came off a win in their own playoff for no. 4) in a knockout match to determine who will face the PEPT Squad, for the right to play undefeated UE in the Finals. The PEPT Squad, by virtue of the win yesterday, will have the twice-to-beat advantage.