FIFTH-seed Ateneo - Quezon City was spared the blushes of being the highest-ranked team to be relegated early as it held off Lyceum - Cavite, 86-84, in Day Two of the Chooks to Go NBTC League National Finals presented by SM, Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Kai Sotto lived up to expectations as he put out a dominant performance of 35 points and 15 rebounds to book a date with Jalen Green and the 12th seed Filam Sports USA on Wednesday at the same venue at 5 p.m.
Forthsky Padrigao also came up big at clutch, as he scored the go-ahead basket on a hard drive, with 46 seconds remaining.
After a pair of empty possessions, Lyceum had one last shot to either tie or win the game, but Guadana cuffed up the ball midcourt as time expired.
“Ang pinakagusto ko dun, yung kalaban namin is a very strong and competitive team. Galing sa NCAA so nate-test yung players namin or next year,” said Ateneo head coach Reggie Varilla.
“Kudos to the boys. We weren’t able to practice that much because it’s exam week last week but they were trying But I think we could have done a better job,” he added.
Padrigao added 17 points and six assists for the Blue Eaglets which nearly blew a 14-point lead after posting a 44-30 advantage before the end of the second quarter.
John Barba led the Junior Pirates with 18 points and five rebounds while Guadana had 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
In the penultimate game of the eight-match game day at the Mall of Asia Arena side, 26th seed Sta. Clarita International School of Iloilo became the lowest ranked team to move forward to the Supreme 16 when it beat Cebu’s University of San Jose-Recoletos, 89-75.
Steven Tono and Wilmer Dalumpines combined for 19 points in the fourth quarter when Sta. Clarita outscored the Jaguars 28-10, as they completed their comeback from being 14 points down in the first quarter.
Tono finished with 26 points, four rebounds and three steals as Sta. Clarita will now face 10th seed Durham Crossover-Toronto in the Supreme 16.
Fourth-seed San Beda relied on Rhayyan Amsali and Tony Ynot as the Red Cubs posted a 111-83 win over 29th seed Holy Trinity-Gensan to likewise move to the Supreme 16.
Amsali finished with 19 points, four rebounds and two steals in just 16 minutes of action while Ynot finished with 15 points. Joshua Lazaro also had a solid night with a double-double of 11 points and 11 boards.
Jarlo Ningasca paced the Wildcats with 15 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Also advancing to the Supreme 16 is sixth seed La Salle Greenhills - Mandaluyong after an emphatic 95-37 win over University of Baguio over at the Palm Coast Marina.
Ladis Lepalam towered over everyone as he finished with 12 points to set the pace for the Greenies which will now face the 11th seeded Camp David New Zealand in the next round.
Third seed Southwestern University-PHINMA of Cebu dominated 30th seed Dolores National High School Eastern Samar enroute to a breezy 103-49 win. Harvey Sanchez led the Baby Cobras with 20 points as they now face the 14th seed Top Flight Vancouver.