DE LA Salle-Zobel ousted Adamson, 87-81, on Friday at the start of the stepladder phase of the UAAP Season 77 juniors basketball tournament at the Blue Eagle Gym.
The Junior Archers shot 69 percent from the field to build a big lead in the first quarter before turning back repeated rallies by the Baby Falcons to move on to another playoff against reigning champion National University.
NU will have a twice-to-beat advantage against La Salle in the battle for a place in the finals opposite the unbeaten Ateneo Blue Eaglets. The Bullpups and the Junior Archers play on Monday at the Blue Eagle Gym.
Aljun Melecio had 21 points including four three-pointers — two coming in back-to-back fashion to give the Junior Archers a 78-63 lead with 2:38 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“The boys refused to go home today,” said La Salle-Zobel coach Boris Aldeguer. “They played their hearts out and that’s what happened."
Joaquin Banzon added 20 points for the Junior Archers, who led by as many as 20 points against the Baby Falcons.
“We had to go toe-to-toe with Adamson and just gave everything we have. Luckily, our shots were falling and we got the big lead. Adamson is a very, very talented team. In the last quarter, I was waiting for them to come back and they did. We were lucky to have that big lead,” Aldeguer said.
Frederick Tungcab had 20 points while James Pasturan had 17 points for the Baby Falcons, who lost their final two games after winning four in a row to claim a Final Four berth.
DLSZ (87) — Alj. Melecio 21, Banzon 20, Webb 9, Paraiso 9, Cabarrus 8, Ale. Melecio 6, Sario 6, Romero 4, Isaac 4, Fortuna 0.
Adamson (81) — Tungcab 20, Pasturan 17, Fernandez 12, Cabanilla 10, Zaldivar 8, Chua 6, Egan 4, Sasuman 4, Calacalsada 0.
Quarterscores: 26-16, 43-32, 66-47, 87-81.