Adamson University completed the Final Four cast, while Ateneo De Manila University scored back-to-back victories on Wednesday in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Adamson Falcons scored a convincing 76-61 triumph over the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers to bag the last Final Four berth.
“We are now living the dream,” Adamson coach Franz Pumaren told reporters in a postgame interview. “We are a gatecrasher since nobody expected us to be [in the Final Four]. We will still play our best to win our remaining games to create a three-way tie for the No. 2 spot.”
Robbie Manalang and Jerrick Ahanmisi scored 16 points apiece while Sean Manganti contributed nine points for the Falcons that now carry a record of seven wins and five losses.
Frederick Tungcab had eight points while Papi Sarr notched seven points and 18 rebounds also for Adamson.
Jon Sheriff and Kent Lao led UST with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The Growling Tigers’ win-loss record fell to 3-10.
Meanwhile, the Ateneo Blue Eagles, relying on a solid start, routed reigning champions Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, 74-59, to grab a share of the second spot. The win keeps FEU’s bid to cop a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four alive.
Thirdy Ravena posted 15 points and 11 rebounds, while center Isaac Go had 14 points and seven rebounds. The Blue Eagles are now No.2 with an 8-4 win-loss record.
“Tough game and we really faced a tough team,” said Ateneo coach Sandy Arespacochaga. “We really tested in battling them in the boards so our mindset is to put a lot of effort in our rebounding.”
Guard Adrian Wong had 12 points, while Mike Nieto and forward Aaron Black finished with eight points and seven points, respectively, also for the Blue Eagles. Ateneo beat FEU in rebound (51-48), assists (15-11) and three-pointers (10-5).
“It was also a collective effort of our players. FEU came back and we knew that they were going to make a run so our players were focused and didn’t rattle,” added Arespacochaga.
Ateneo was leading 24-14 after the first quarter through the impressive performance of Ravena, Wong and Go. FEU couldn’t cope up with Ateneo’s offensive in the second quarter resulting in a 28-46 halftime deficit.
The Tamaraws narrowed the gap, 46-58, entering the fourth canto but Go protected their lead and sealed Ateneo’s win by scoring seven points in the fourth quarter.
“Great effort and everybody contributed,” said Go.
FEU’s Monbert Arong posted 10 of his 15 points in the second quarter but scored only two points in the second half.
It was a second consecutive defeat for the Tamaraws that lost to Adamson University, 59-61, on Sunday.