LJ Gonzales had 22 points while Jack Gloria finished with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds as Far Eastern University-Diliman overcame Ateneo, 74-72, on Friday to advance to theUAAP Season 79 juniors basketball finals at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Gonzales set the tone for the Baby Tamaraws with 10 points in the third before joining forces with Gloria to score a combined 10 in the final canto when the second seeds sealed their first appearance in the finals in five years.
The Babay Tamaraws, who take on top seed National University in Game One of the finals on Tuesday, last won the championship in 2012 with a team led by Jerie Pingoy.
Gonzales gave the lead back to FEU, 61-60, with a basket with 5:30 left in the game before Gloria followed with a putback and Xyrus Torres a triple to make it a six-point game - enough cushion for the Baby Tamaraws to weather a last-ditch Ateneo stand.
“Hindi sila bumigay,” said a jubilant FEU coach Allan Albano.
Jason Credo had 16 points while Kai Sotto had 16 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks for the fourth-seeded Blue Eaglets, who forced a rubber match with a lopsided victory in the first game of the Final Four on Tuesday.
FEU (74) — Gonzales 22, Gloria 14, Roman 14, Jabel 8, Torres 6, Gabane 5, Abarrientos 3, Celzo 2, Sapinit 0, Ro. Alforque 0, Baclay 0, Sevilla 0, Ra. Alforque 0.
Ateneo (72) — Credo 16, Sotto 16, Ildefonso 15, Belangel 13, Berjay 7, Manuel 5, Flores 0, Escalona 0, Angeles 0.
Quarterscores: 23-22, 36-37, 56-55, 74-72.