SAN Beda and National University arranged an NCAA-UAAP finals in the SM-NBTC National Championship Division 1 after hurdling separate rivals in the semifinal round on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Red Cubs star and NCAA Season 91 finals MVP Evan Nelle led the charge with 16 points, while Sam Abuhijle also added 16 with 12 rebounds to lift San Beda over Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, 86-75.
The Red Cubs reached the finals by avenging last year’s loss to the Joshua Sinclair-led Magis Eagles, who stunned the NCAA champions at the Meralco Gym last season.
Meanwhile, Bullpups big man Justine Baltazar, the finals MVP in the UAAP Season 78 juniors wars, posted a monster double-double of 28 points and 11 rebounds in NU's rout over Chiang Kai Shek College, 72-49, in the other pairing.
John Lloyd Clemente added 13 points for the Bullpups, who outscored the Blue Dragons, 23-5, in the second quarter en route to the lopsided victory.
The victories set up an all-Metro Manila final where the Red Cubs, who beat Arellano in the NCAA finals, will take on the Bullpups, who downed De La Salle-Zobel in the UAAP series just a few weeks ago.
Both teams, who've been unbeaten in the tournament after sweeping their respective opponents in the preliminary round, entered the Division 1 finals set on Thursday, 11 a.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena.
In Division 2, Calabarzon rivals Batangas and Laguna advanced to the championship round after winning their respective semifinal matches.
Reyger Dimaunahan scored 39 points as Batangas’ De La Salle-Lipa beat Pampanga’s Angeles University Foundation, 113-63.
On the other hand, James Bandola had 18 points, while John Barba finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds as Rex Del Academy-Laguna beat Maryhill College Lucena, 74-70.
The Division 2 finals is set on Thursday, 9 a.m.