ATENEO clinched a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four after a 97-73 drubbing over University of the East on Saturday in the UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Eagles stretched their unbeaten run to 11 games, securing one of the two incentives in the semifinal round.
Ateneo is three victories away from a sweep of the elimination round and an outright berth in the finals.
The Red Warriors slipped to 3-9, their Final Four hopes fading.
Thirdy Ravena led Ateneo’s balanced attack with 17 points to go with eight rebounds and four assists, while Jolo Mendoza came off the bench to score 13 on 3-of-3 shooting.
UE’s Alvin Pasaol was limited a single digit score for the first time this season, finishing with only eight points on 2 of 11 shooting.
“We are happy to get this win under our belt,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin.
“Every game is a step forward for our team.”
Ateneo stamped its class over UE, leading by as many as 31 points.
Mark Maloles tallied 20 points, while Mark Olayon contributed 15 points for the Red Warriors.
Ateneo 97 – Ravena 17, Mendoza 13, Tolentino 12, Verano 12, Asistio 9, Porter 9, Mi. Nieto 7, Ikeh 7, Mamuyac 3, Ma. Nieto 2, Go 2, Black 2, Andrade 2, Tio 0, White 0.
UE 73 – Maloles 15, Olayon 15, Pasaol 8, Bartolome 7, Varilla 5, Cullar 5, Derige 4, Acuno 4, Manalang 3, Conner 2, Toribio 0, Cruz 0.
Quarterscores: 21-18; 48-35; 71-52; 97-73.