Baskets from Angelo Kouame and BJ Andrade in the dying seconds lifted Ateneo to a 66-61 beating of Adamson to grab the no. 1 seeding in the Final Four Wednesday of the 85th University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Blue Eagles notched their 11th win in 14 games in a tie with the University of the Philippine Fighting Maroons, but clinched the top seed due to a higher quotient.
Kouame connected with a putback with 35 ticks left, giving the Blue Eagles a three-point cushion, 64-61, en route to the win that denied the Falcons an outright semis seat.
After Andrade’s two charities finalized the count with 8.4 ticks left, the Falcons slipped to a share of fourth and fifth with La Salle with their 7-7 card.
Adamson’s loss, coupled with a La Salle win earlier, set the stage for a playoff for the no. 4 seeding between the two.
Bryson Ballungay sank a team-high 18 points for the Blue Eagles, while Andrade and Kouame provided 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Earlier, four charities from Evan Nelle in the last 20 seconds sealed the deal for the undermanned Green Archers, who pulled off a 77-72 stopping of the University of the Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.
The 5’10” Nelle knocked in 25 points for the Green Archers.
Nelle drew fouls from Nico Cabanero and Miguel Pangilinan and calmly sank his pair of charity shots in the last 19.8 seconds and 5.6 seconds to carry the Archers to the victory.
“The boys manned up out there. It was a total team effort,” said Green Archers’ coach Derrick Pumaren.
The Growling Tigers, who ended their season with a 1-13 win-loss record, enjoyed a nine-point edge early in the last period.
They were in front, 69-60, following Royce Mantua’s three-pointer at the 8:26 mark.
But the lead was gone when La Salle rallied with a triple from Mark Nonoy and a three-point play from Nelle in the final 3:56.
Nonoy, who had 10 points, then tied the contest, 69-all off a split charity in the remaining 2:25.
La Salle moved ahead on Jan Macalalag’s jumper and Benjamin Philip’s two charities, 73-69, with 1:50 left.
“I told the boys that we have to win this first, before we can talk about our next game,” added Pumaren.
The Green Archers played without two key players, Mike Phillips and Kevin Quiambao, who are reportedly ill.
La Salle 77—Nelle 25, Cortez 13, Nonoy 10, Phillips 8, Macalalag 6, Austria 5, Estacio 3, Abadam 2, Buensalida 2, Manuel 2, Nwankwo 1, Winston 0.
UST 72±Mantua 17, Cabanero 16, Calimag 10, Faye 9, Pangilinan 5, Manalang 4, Laure 4, Manaytay 4, Lazarte 3, Duremdes 0, Garing 0, Escobido 0.
Quarters: 21-27, 37-42, 55-59, 77-72.