UST KOs Ateneo to enter semis

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UST ousts Ateneo from Final 4 contention in UAAP Season 76

CHARGING HARD. Abdul led the Tigers' onslaught. Photo by Rappler/Josh Albelda.

MANILA, Philippines — The 5-peat champions are out.

University of Santo Tomas knocked Ateneo de Manila University out of contention with an 82-74 victory in the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday, September 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

After seeing their big halftime lead vanish into thin air, the Growling Tigers stepped on the gas pedal early in the final quarter, firing 3 triples in a 13-2 run that gave UST enough cushion to upend the Blue Eagles.

Ateneo came back from an 18-point deficit in the second period to build a slim 48-45 lead in the third off a Kiefer Ravena 3-pointer.

But the Tigers charged in the final period, with Clark Bautista delivering the daggers with two triples in the 13-2 blast that turned the game around.

With the Eagles threatening one last time at 67-62 with 4:30 left, the Espana-based squad leaned on Abdul, who struck hard with 4 points in an 8-2 run that gave them a 75-62 lead with 2:34 left. 

Desperate for life, Ateneo launched a searing 12-2 assault to draw within 3 at 77-74 with 29 seconds remaining, but Jeric Teng secured UST’s 8th win this season with 5 free-throws.

The dethroned champions finished the elimination round with a 7-7 record and will miss the Final Four for the first time in 15 years.

In the first game, University of the Philippines finished the season without a win after absorbing a bitter 76-73 defeat to University of the East.

The Fighting Maroons battled all the way back from 16 points down, but committed costly errors down the stretch as the Red Warriors ended their Season 76 stint with a 7-7 card. –

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