Ateneo back in finals, La Salle forces rubber match vs UP

By Maxine Louise Lagman


The De La Salle University (DLSU) defeated the University of the Philippines (UP), 83-80, in their first match in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball Final Four on Wednesday, May 4, at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

La Salle’s win disarmed UP of its twice-to-beat advantage, and will go for a rubber match for a slot in the Finals on Friday, May 5. 

The Green Archers were on fire from the get-go. They led up to 22 points off a 16-2 run, 66-44, with 2:25 minutes left in the third quarter. 

The Fighting Maroons answered back with 11 consecutive points to inch within 11 by the end of the third, 55-66. Ricci Rivero, Gerry Abadiano, and Malick Diouf shot a basket each to pull UP within six, 75-81, 24.5 ticks to go. 

Abadiano added a booming triple for UP, 78-81, 13.4 left. 

However, Evan Nelle was fouled and split his freebies, just enough to raise the Green Archers to victory. 

“The boys really played hard today [and it was] 40 minutes of solid basketball. It was a disciplined effort and everyone was on the same page today,” said Green Archers head coach Derrick Pumaren. 

Nelle had 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting, along with seven assists, six rebounds, and three steals. Justine Baltazard added a 15-point, 18-rebound double-double, on top of three assists and two blocks. 

On the other hand, Diouf and Rivero had 18 points apiece. 


Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) brushed off their loss to UP, and whipped fourth seed Far Eastern University (FEU), 85-72, for its fifth straight UAAP Finals appearance on Wednesday, May 4, at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

“We honestly put things behind us,” said Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin. “We put it behind us because FEU is the only game that matters.” 

The Blue Eagles and Tamaraws were at a 16-16 deadlock in the first quarter, until the former drained six triples for a 33-17 run, 49-33, at halftime. 

FEU was not able to recover as time ran out. Ateneo will now await the winner of the UP-DLSU matchup. 

BJ Andrade led ADMU with 16 points and three rebounds, while SJ Belangel chipped in 14 markers. 

RJ Abarrientos paced FEU with 16 points, while Emman Ojuola had a 13-point, 14-rebound double-double. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meanxi

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