ATENEO secured the No. 2 in the UAAP Season 81 juniors' basketball tournament semifinals, whipping Adamson, 72-59 , on Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Forthsky Padrigao commanded the Blue Eaglets' dazzling 17-3 blast to finish the first half as they turned a tight 25-23 lead to a decisive 42-26 advantage.
The flamboyant guard notched six points on just a 2-of-13 shooting from the field, but made up for the poor shooting with nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals.
Geo Chiu led the way for Ateneo with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks off the bench, Kai Sotto got 17 points, 17 boards, five assists, two rejections, and one steal, and David Diaz had 10 and five.
"I’d like to give credit to our bigs. They were fighting for it the whole time," remarked coach Reggie Varilla. "We had three centers and what better way kundi si Kai na power forward and in-embrace nila yun and now, we’re seeing them play really well together."
The win formalized the Final Four pairings after the Blue Eagles secured the second-seed with their 11-3 win-loss card. They will hold a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals against No. 3 FEU-Diliman (9-4).
The Baby Falcons settle for the No. 4 spot with their 9-5 record and will have to overcome twice-to-beat Nazareth School of National University (12-1).
Joshua Barcelona carried the load for Adamson with 18 points and eight rebounds, as Jake Engbino had 12 points, four boards and four assists.
Baby Falcons top gun Joem Sabandal was limited to just eight points, six rebounds and five assists.
Ateneo 72 - Chiu 18, Sotto 17, Diaz 10, Padrigao 6, Jaymalin 6, Fetalvero 6, David 5, Espinosa 2, De Ayre 2, Narciso 0, Salandanan 0.
Adamson 59 - Barcelona 14, Engbino 12, An. Doria 9, Sabandal 8, Ad. Doria 6, Hanapi 5, Prodigo 2, Tulabut 2, Capulong 1, Santos 0.
Quarterscores: 22-16; 42-26; 58-42; 72-59.