Ateneo De Manila University banked on a solid fourth period to beat Adamson University 73-67 win in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Wednesday. The victory allowed the Blue Eagles to bag the last twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
Thirdy Ravena led the Blue Eagles with 14 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, while Mike Nieto and Adrian Wong finished with 12 points each. Ateneo finished the elimination round at No.2 with a 10-4 win-loss record.
“We are very happy with our offensive game especially in the crucial moment. It was a tough game. It was a tough win for us and it’s a hard-earned win,” said Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga in the postgame interview.
“The players stayed focused in spite of the very good performance of Adamson,” added Arespacochaga. “It wasn’t really a good game in terms of our field goal percentage and it became a defensive game. We had to grind it out.”
The Blue Eagles will face No. 3 Far Eastern University (FEU) in the Final Four on Wednesday.
Isaac Go scored seven of his nine points in the payoff period on top of eight rebounds for the Blue Eagles.
The No. 4 Falcons, who ended the elimination round with an 8-6 record, will face twice-to-beat De La Salle University in the Final Four.
In the first game, Far Eastern University (FEU) halted a three-game losing skid by posting a slim 64-61 victory over University of the East (UE). The Tamaraws finished the elimination round with a 9-5 win-loss record.
“We just wanted to get the win before we go to the playoffs. It was a struggle and it was really hard mentally for the players,” FEU coach Nash Racela told reporters during the postgame interview. “Our adversity quotient is getting better and we’re learning to play through it.”
Point guard Axel Inigo notched 16 points, six rebounds and four assists to lead the Tamaraw. He scored a pivotal three-pointer with 25 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter widening FEU’s lead, 63-59.
“We’re happy we’re in the Final Four regardless of the seeding. We’re happy where we are right now and again, if we base it on our games against the top teams, we know if we make our adjustments, if we sacrifice, then we have a chance,” added Racela.
Paul Varilla led UE with 13 points and five rebounds.
The Red Warriors ended the season with a 3-11 win-loss record, sharing the bottom of the team standings with the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.