Ateneo Blue Eagles ground Adamson, secure twice-to-beat advantage as No. 2 seed
Ateneo guard Thirdy Ravena glides in for a layup. Jaime Campos

ATENEO secured the last twice-to-beat spot in the Final Four after beating Adamson, 73-67, on Wednesday at the end of the UAAP Season 79 seniors basketball eliminations at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Blue Eagles finished the regular season with a 10-4 win-loss record to grab second spot behind La Salle, securing a face-off with Far Eastern University in the Final Four slated next week.

The Falcons dropped to 8-6 with the defeat, and now face top-seed La Salle in the other Final Four match-up.

Thirdy Ravena had 14 points and 13 rebounds to lead the attack for the Blue Eagles, who now go to the playoffs riding the crest of six straight victories under first-year coach Tab Baldwin.

The Blue Eagles took control with a 10-2 burst to start the fourth quarter for a 62-55 lead. Ravena then scored on a tip-in with 2:01 left in the fourth to keep the Falcons at bay, 68-59.

Mike Nieto had 12 points and eight rebounds, while Adrian Wong added 12 points for the Blue Eagles, who also got nine points and eight rebounds from Isaac Go.

“It’s a hard-earned win and we are happy that our players stayed focused inspite of a very good performance by Adamson. They gutted it out there,” said Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespachocaga.

The Ateneo assistant mentor said all-out effort made up for a horrendous shooting night that saw the Blue Eagles make just 34 percent of their shots from the field.

“It wasn’t a beautiful game because of our field goal percentage. We had to grind it out. We got a lot of rebounds so we are very happy with that especially offensively,” said Arespacochaga.

Papi Sarr had 17 points and 23 rebounds while JD Tungcab added 16 points for the Falcons, who saw their four-game winning streak snapped.

The scores:

ADMU (73)—Ravena 14, Mi. Nieto 12, Wong 12, Go 9, Ma. Nieto 7, Verano 6, Black 5, Ikeh 4, Tolentino 3, Asistio 1, Porter 0.

ADU (67)—Sarr 17, Tungcab 16, Manalang 12, Ahanmisi 7, Espeleta 7, Manganti 7, Camacho 1, Ochea 0, Mustre 0, Bernardo 0, Paranada 0, Chua 0, Ng 0.

Quarters: 15-17, 28-33, 52-53, 73-67.

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