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Ateneo in Final Four; De La Salle, Adamson U dispute last semis seat,

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DE LA SALLE University came back from nine points down in the fourth quarter to survive an upset-minded University of Santo Tomas (UST), 77-72, and stave off elimination in University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 men’s basketball action at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.

The Green Archers improved to 7-7 won-lost, the same record as the Adamson University Soaring Falcons, who took a 66-61 loss to the Ateneo Blue Eagles later on Wednesday.

De La Salle and Adamson University square off on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena for the last Final Four slot.

“It was a hard-fought ball game. We were missing players again and I told the guys that it’s been a rough season for us,” said De La Salle head coach Derrick Pumaren, referring to Mike Phillips and Kevin Quiambao who he said are “under-the-weather.”

Schonny Winston also played for only three seconds to inbound the ball in the last minute of the match.

“We just have to keep playing and just do our part.,” Pumaren said. “The boys hung tough out there it was a total team effort.”

Royce Mantua’s three-pointer at the 8:26 mark of the payoff period gave the Growling Tigers a nine-point lead, 69-60. But that would be their last field goal until a buzzer-beater by Richi Calimag.

Mark Nonoy, JC Macalalag, Evan Nelle and Ben Phillips combined for 17 points for the Green Archers.

Macalalag put De La Salle on top with a jumper with 1:50 left as Christian Manaytay was called for a foul on Phillips, sending the Green Archer to the line which he calmly drained both, 73-69.

Nelle delivered 25 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Raven Cortez stepped up with 13 points and four rebounds.

Mantua had 17 points on five triples for UST while Cabanero got 16 points, five rebounds and four assists. Calimag had 10 points, while Adama Faye added nine points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.

After an opening-day win against the Soaring Falcons, the Growling Tigers lost their next 13 games to finish at 1-13. Jamba Garing has played his last game for UST.

Ateneo went on a six-game winning streak to tie idle University of the Philippines with an 11-3 recod. The reigning champion Fighting Maroons, however, took the No. 1 spot in the Final Four with a superior plus-3 quotient.
The Blue Eagles are in the Final Four for the fifth consecutive.

“It’s the Final Four already and we can’t get too caught up that we’re No. 1,” Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga said. “We all know entering the Final Four it’s a whole new ball game.” Kai Ballungay registered 18 points and 14 rebounds for Ateneo, while BJ Andrade and Ange Kouame had 13 and 12 points, respectively, for Ateneo. Kouame also grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked three shots.
Adamson University got a breakout game from AP Manlapaz with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting while Jerom Lastimosa added 10 points on 15 shots and eight rebounds.

With the Soaring Falcons slipping to 7-7, they will meet De La Salle University on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena for the playoff match for the last Final Four spot. The tip-off time has yet to be decided.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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