UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas booked the last Final Four berth in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League Monday as it escaped Adamson’s upset axe, 88-64, at the San Juan Arena.
The Growling Tigers rode on a big fourth quarter run triggered by Tata Bautista and Jeric Teng to settle the outcome of the match, 74-55, and bundle out the surprising Falcons, who were responsible for eliminating fancied schools La Salle and San Sebastian earlier.
The Tigers will now face five-time UAAP champion Ateneo in the Final Four on Wednesday in a rematch of their dramatic UAAP men’s basketball title series just last month.
The UST-Ateneo duel is set at 4 p.m. shortly after the first semifinal game between three-time NCAA champion San Beda and Southwestern University at 2 p.m.
“Depensa o opensa, aggressive ‘yung mga bata,” said UST coach Pido Jarencio. “Gusto talaga nila manalo kasi natalo nila kami sa Unigames, gusto (nila) bumawi.”
Aljon Mariano came away with a team-high with 20 points, while Teng, Kevin Ferrer, and Jeric Fortuna chipped in 15, 12, and 11 points, respectively, for the UAAP runner-up team.
The Tigers dominated the Falcons off the boards, 45-34, and dished off more assists, 22-11.
“Hindi ko naman ini-expect na makakapasok kami dito (Final Four),” said Jarencio. “Obligasyon natin lumaro dito sa PCCL, think positive na lang baka makasilat sa Final Four.”
“Wala naman kaming worries or pressure, basta kami pag nakapasok all out. Darating na lang yan (champion) kasi pag lalo mo gugustuhin baka lalo kakawala. Ngayon baka dumating na lang,” said Jarencio of their highly-anticipated duel with the Blue Eagles.
Eric Camson led Adamson with 17 points, while Roider Cabrera and Jericho Cruz combined for 26 markers.
UST (88) -- Mariano 20, Teng 15, Ferrer 12, Fortuna 11, Bautista 9, Abdul 5, Lo 5, Daquioag 3, Vigil 2, Villar 2, Haingan 2, Afuang 2, Pe 0, Garrido 0.
Adamson (64) -- Camson 17, Cabrera 16, Cruz 10, Abrigo 7, Monteclaro 5, Brondial 4, Agustin 2, Cabigas 1, Mendoza 0, Trollano 0, Petilos 0, Rios 0, Bernabe 0
Quarterscores: 16-10, 34-28, 58-45, 88-64.