SJ Belangel and Dave Ildefonso shone as Ateneo repulsed De La Salle-Zobel, 69-53, and secure the remaining Final Four berth in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 juniors basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Belangel paced the Blue Eaglets with 19 points, while Ildefonso came through with a double-double effort of 15 points, 13 rebounds on top of four assists.
Ateneo notched its seventh win in 12 matches and was able to formalize its semifinals entry after defending champion National University eliminated University of Santo Tomas, 72-59, in the last game.
Rookie center Kai Sotto also played well for the Eaglets with nine points, 13 rebounds and 3 three blocks.
Adamson University, behind Encho Serrano’s 17 points, overpowered University of the East, 93-68, to assure itself of a playoff for a twice-to-beat bonus in the Final Four.
Far Eastern University-Diliman, with Xyrus Torres leading the charge with 17 points and six rebounds, carved out a 99-75 win over UP Integrated School.
The Baby Falcons moved up to a league-best 11-1, two games ahead of the third-running Baby Tamaraws (9-3) in the race for one of two Final Four bonus at stake.
John Lloyd Clemente (19 points, 13 rebounds) and Rhayyan Amsali (12 points, 10 boards) posted double-double numbers as the 10-2 Bullpups Karl Peñano also tossed in 12 points while Paul Manalang had 11 points for NU, which stayed a game ahead of FEU-Diliman.
The Tiger Cubs bowed out of contention with their eighth loss in 12 matches.
The already-eliminated Junior Maroons and the Junior Archers remained tied at 3-9, while the Junior Warriors fell at 1-11 in last place.