FAR Eastern University sent top seed Ateneo tumbling with an 80-67 victory on Sunday, sending their UAAP Season 80 Final Four showdown to sudden death.
The fourth-seeded Tamaraws opened a big gap in the third quarter and the Blue Eagles never recovered as they botched plays and missed shots they normally made.
The stunning turnaround set the stage for a do-or-die match on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena, with the winner facing second seed La Salle in the finals starting next weekend.
La Salle ousted Adamson in their semifinal match-up on Saturday.
Ateneo, which stood on the verge of an elimination-round sweep - and an outright place in the finals - just weeks ago after going 13-0, is now in danger of missing out on the finals after a second successive loss.
FEU coach Olsen Racela, however, refused to make a big deal out of the win.
"Right now, we haven't done anything yet. Ang nakuha lang namin is to take away the twice-to-beat advantage of Ateneo," said Racela, a star guard of the Blue Eagles during his playing career.
"We are looking forward to Wednesday's game and see what we can do and try to stop a very strong team like Ateneo," he added.
FEU senior Ron Dennison extended his UAAP career at least to another game as he finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
Two former Ateneo players, Arvin Tolentino and Hubert Cani, had 13 and 11 points, respectively.
The Tamaraws went on a 9-0 run open a 12-point lead, 52-40, in the third quarter and the closest the Blue Eagles got from there was seven points.
FEU widened the gap to 75-58 on a triple by Cani with 2:45 left in the game.
Thirdy Ravena had 17 points and six rebounds while Mike and Matt Nieto added 13 and 11 points each for the Blue Eagles.
FEU 80 - Dennison 17, Tolentino 13, Cani 11, Orizu 10, Escoto 9, Inigo 8, Trinidad 5, Parker 4, Ebona 3, Comboy 0, Bayquin 0, Ramirez 0, Stockton 0, Tuffin 0.
ADMU 67 - Ravena 17, Mi. Nieto 13, Ma. Nieto 11, Go 9, Tolentino 5, Mendoza 4, Asistio 3, Tio 3, Verano 2, Ikeh 0, Black 0, Mamuyac 0, Mallillin 0.
Quarters: 21-15, 38-35, 59-48, 80-67.