Ateneo sweeps rival La Salle to clinch Final Four berth
MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Blue Eagles still found no bumps in their UAAP Season 82 warpath as they swept heated rivals De La Salle Green Archers, 77-69, in the men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, October 13.
With the win – the Blue Eagles’ 20th-straight dating back to last year – the two-time defending champions have formally sealed the first spot in the Final Four while the Archers slid down to a 4-5 tie with the FEU Tamaraws in 4th place.
Adrian Wong, who got Ateneo off to a strong start, led all scorers with a season-high 18 points on a 4-of-7 shooting from downtown.
Thirdy Ravena also chipped in 13 markers and 7 rebounds for the Blue Eagles, who also overwhelmed the Green Archers, 81-69, in the first round to complete an elimination sweep.
Off a slim five-point lead to enter the 4th quarter, the Eagles widened the gap to 11, 61-50, off a Will Navarro three and a Mike Nieto and-one bucket to start the period.
Although Justine Baltazar got his team as close as 6, 55-61, off a tough fadeaway at the seven-minute mark, the Eagles quickly pulled away with 7 straight points, 68-55, capped by back-to-back layups from Ravena and Gian Mamuyac at the 3:40 mark.
Wong then sank the game-sealing free throws for a 76-67 lead at the 23-second mark to clinch Ateneo’s 10th win of the season.
Encho Serrano paced the Archers in the loss with 15 points and 8 boards while Baltazar aded 12 markers and 9 rebounds.
Ateneo 77 – Wong 18, Ravena 13, Kouame 10, Navarro 9, Mamuyac 6, Belangel 5, Mi. Nieto 5, Daves 3, Ma. Nieto 3, Tio 3, Go 2.
La Salle 69 – Serrano 15, Baltazar 12, Caracut 11, Malonzo 10, Melecio 10, Manuel 7, Bartlett 2, Bates 2, Lojera 0.
Quarters: 19-15, 36-30, 55-50, 77-69.