ATENEO advanced to the finals of the UAAP Season 76 juniors basketball tournament after dethroning Far Eastern University-Diliman, 69-64, on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Eaglets overcame a slow start in the first quarter to move into the finals where they will face undefeated National University.
The Bullpups hold a thrice-to-beat advantage in the finals, only needing to win twice to capture the crown.
Game One of the finals series is set September 28 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Michael Nieto had 14 points and 12 rebounds, Jose Escaler added 14 markers, and season Most Valuable Player Thirdy Ravena had 11 points for the Bullpups.
The Baby Tamaraws bowed out of the title picture after winning last season’s crown on a team led by now-Ateneo cager Jerie Pingoy.
The Blue Eaglets trailed, 9-17, at the end of the first period but recovered in the second to tie the game, 32-32, at the half.
Ateneo (69) – Nieto 14, Escaler 14, Ravena 11, Black 10, Nieto 9, Mendoza 7, Ramos 2, Magpoc 2, Salandanan 0, Joson 0, Calilung 0.
FEU (64) – Lee 19, Domingo 15, Bienes 9, Completo 5, Aquino 5, Tabudlo 4, Lumba 4, Comboy 3, Rumbaoa 0, Paglinawan 0, Domingo 0.
Quarterscores: 9-17; 32-32; 47-46; 69-64.