ATENEO locked up the top seed in the UAAP Season 85 men's basketball Final Four and denied Adamson an outright spot after a hard-earned 66-61 victory on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With the win, the Blue Eagles will once again finish at the top of the standings at 11-3, their fifth consecutive season in that position. They will own a twice-to-beat advantage anew in the semifinals starting on Sunday.
The Katipunan side now sits idle while waiting for the winner of the fourth place-playoff between Adamson and La Salle, which both ended up with identical 7-7 cards.
University of the Philippines, which finished at No. 2, will also have the twice-to-beat edge against No. 3 National University in the other semifinal pairing.
The Blue Eagles saw a 10-point lead, 60-50, in the final 4:45 trimmed to one, 62-61, after a Cedrick Manzano layup in the last 1:42 but held on to secure the No. 1 seed in the Final Four over defending champions UP Maroons.
Ange Kouame gave Ateneo a bit of a breathing room with a putback with 35.3 seconds left, but Ateneo still had to dodge two treys from Joaquin Jaymalin and Joem Sabandal before BJ Andrade iced the game at the free throw line.