DAVE Ildefonso knocked in 19 points as Ateneo lived to fight another day in the UAAP Season 79 juniors basketball Final Four after beating Far Eastern University-Diliman, 75-56, on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Ildefonso, son of two-time PBA MVP Danny, scored 13 points in the first half to stake the Blue Eagles to a 47-33 lead before spearheading a critical 9-0 run in the fourth that wiped out the Baby Tmaraws' twice-to-beat edge in the Final Four.
Ildefonso's heroics helped Ateneo force a winner-take-all match against FEU for a place in the finals on Friday, also at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
As the final seconds ticked away with victory certain for the Blue Saglets, Ateneo coach Joe Silva said “one more” a few times to remind his players that the win will go for naught if they can't win in sudden death on Friday.
SJ Belangel had 14 points including an impressive stepback jumper with 2:02 left in the game to give the Blue Eaglets a 75-54 lead.
Jason Credo added 13 points while Kai Sotto had a double-double of 11 points and 12 boards to go with three blocks for the Blue Eaglets, who lost to FEU last week in a playoff for the No. 2 seed in the Final Four.
LJ Gonzales finished with 13 points for the Baby Tamaraws, who never really recovered after being outscored 26-14 in the second period.
Ateneo (75) – Ildefonso 19, Belangel 14, Credo 13, Sotto 11, Berjay 8, Manuel 5, Flores 5, Escalona 0, Angeles 0, Gatmaytan 0, Deonio 0, Laud 0, Espino 0, Afable 0.
FEU (56)—Gonzales 13, Roman 10, Abarrientos 7, Ro. Alforque 6, Gabane 5, Sapinit 5, Gloria 4, Celzo 3, Jabel 3, Torres 0, Baclay 0, Sevilla 0, Bieren 0.
Quarters: 21-19, 47-33, 60-45, 75-56.