October 14, 2019
Adrian Wong delivered as Ateneo De Manila University snared the first Final Four berth with a 77-69 beating of archrival De La Salle University in Season 82 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Fourth-year guard Wong finished with a game-high 18 points, including the crucial triple that gave Ateneo a comfortable lead in the endgame.
“I think if Adrian doesn’t come out hot, we’re in trouble. Fortunately, he did,” said veteran Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. The Blue Eagles have earned a Final Four slot for the sixth consecutive time.
“It’s another example of somebody else on our roster stepping up and having a good game when it was needed,” added the American-Kiwi mentor.
Graduating forward Thirdy Ravena posted 13 points, seven rebounds, an assist and a steal while the 6-foot-10 Ivorian center Ange Kouame had a 10-marker, 14-board double-double.
All the other eight players deployed by Baldwin contributed at least two points each as the Eagles extended their winning streak to 20 dating back to last season.
Wong’s three-pointer allowed Ateneo to pull away en route to a 34-22 lead midway in the second quarter.
La Salle, however, narrowed the gap, 50-53, on Encho Serrano’s basket late in the third period.
The Eagles’ 10-3 run capped by Wong’s left corner trey off Mike Nieto’s assist for a 71-58 advantage practically sealed their victory with 2:02 remaining in the game.
Guard Serrano registered 15 points and eight rebounds while seasoned forward Justine Baltazar had 12 markers and nine boards.
Andrei Caracut had 11 points, Jamie Malonzo had a 10-marker, 12-board double-double while Aljun Melecio had 10 points.
La Salle’s record dropped to 4-5.
La Salle emerged victorious though in the women’s division as the Lady Archers boosted their Final Four bid with a 62-53 victory over Ateneo.
The Lady Eagles are now on the brink of elimination with a 3-7 slate.
In the first game, University of Sto. Tomas trounced Far Eastern University, 71-67, to tighten its grip of No. 2.
The Growling Tigresses’ record improved to 8-2 while the Lady Tamaraws’ dropped to 6-4.
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