MANILA (UPDATED) — De La Salle University outlasted its rivals and is all but assured of a twice-to-beat advantage heading into the Final Four.
This, after the Green Archers defeated Ateneo de Manila University, 72-69, at the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament in front of 14,900 fans on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
MVP frontrunner Kevin Quiambao towed the Taft-based squad to its eighth straight win in the second round with 14 points, nine rebounds, six assists, a steal, and a block.
Michael Phillips tallied a 10-point, 14-rebound game while also delivering four steals, four assists, and two blocks. Evan Nelle and Mark Nonoy also finished with 10 each.
The Green Archers, who improved to 11-3, will secure a twice-to-beat incentive in the event that the 11-2 UP Fighting Maroons defeat the 10-3 NU Bulldogs tomorrow, or if NU wins by not more than 39 points.
Trailing by five after a basket by Phillips with still 44 seconds left in the game, Chris Koon hit a mid-range jumper to help the Ateneans get as close as three, 70-67.
The Blue Eagles’ defense forced Nelle into a turnover in the following play, leaving the door slightly open for the Katipunan-based squad to tie the game, but Jared Brown’s three-point attempt completely missed the rim.
Plays after, following a perfect trip from Nelle from the charity line and a basket by Joe Obasa with under 4 ticks left, Phillips missed his two free-throws leaving Ateneo with a final look to send the game to overtime.
But Ateneo, who was already without a timeout left, needed to rely on a halfcourt heave from Brown.
His shot ultimately missed, meaning that they will be hoping for the 6-7 Adamson Soaring Falcons to drop their last elimination round assignment against the UE Red Warriors tomorrow. If Adamson wins, they will battle the 7-7 Ateneo for the last Final 4 spot.
Obasa led the defending champions with 21 points, nine rebounds, three blocks, and two steals, but with five turnovers, while Kai Ballungay and Mason Amos finished with 12 and 10, respectively.
DLSU 72 — Quiambao 14, Nelle 10, M. Phillips 10, Nonoy 10, Policarpio 9, Austria 6, David 6, Abadam 4, Cortez 2, Escandor 1, Manuel 0, Macalalag 0.
Ateneo 69 — Obasa 21, Ballungay 12, Amos 10, Koon 9, Credo 4, Espinosa 4, Quitevis 4, Brown 3, Lazaro 2, Nieto 0, Chiu 0.
Quarterscores: 14-17, 35-32, 51-46, 72-69