The Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles beat the Adamson University Soaring Falcons, 67-52, to clinch a berth in the Final four of the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Eagles hiked their record to 10-3 to claim the second berth behind Far Eastern University (10-2). Ateneo missed the Final Four last year after winning five straight UAAP titles.
“I was a bit apprehensive because it is our third game in seven days. Our energy was waning. Thankfully, our defense kicked in the third and early fourth quarter,” said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol.
The Blue Eagles went on a 15-0 run in the fourth period to post the scrambling victory.
Meanwhile, in the second game De La Salle University gained at least a playoff for a Final Four berth with a 67-60 win over University of Santo Tomas.
Green Archers Jeron Teng and Arnold Van Opstal came up big late in the game for La Salle which retained its position at third place with a 9-3 win-loss record. La Salle is also in the thick of the fight, along with league-leader Far Eastern University (10-2) and Ateneo (10-3), for one of the top two spots in the Final Four.
The loss sent the struggling Tigers to the brink of elimination with a 5-7 record.
The Green Archers had to work hard to earn the win. Teng and Van Opstal scored 11 of La Salle’s final 13 points to post the victory after trailing, 58-54, with three minutes left in the game.
“UST played very well on both ends of the floor. They made it hard for us. But we were able to pull this off because of our defense,” said La Salle coach Juno Sauler.