MANILA, Philippines — National University moved closer to an outright finals berth, while Ateneo secured a semifinals spot after separate victories Saturday in the UAAP season 76 juniors basketball competition at the Blue Eagle gym.
NU leaned on a huge 28-point third quarter to whip University of the Philippines Integrated school, 83-58, for a perfect 13-0 record so far in the elimination round.
One more victory separates the Bullpups from a trip to the finals with a precious three-to-beat edge.
Hubert Cani sizzled for 27 points, along with five rebounds and seven assists while John Cauilan had a double-double play of 22 points and 16 boards for NU.
MVP front-runner Thirdy Ravena, meanwhile, had another all-around effort with 12 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists as the Blue Eaglets blasted past University of the East, 68-49.
Ateneo improved to 11-2, which also earned the Bullpups a twice-to-beat edge in the semifinals — regardless of the format.
The Blue Eaglets have a shot at spoiling the Bullpups’ bid as they tangle on September 13 at the same venue.
Meanwhile, reigning titlist Far Eastern University-Diliman and De La Salle-Zobel also formalized their entry to the semis after dispatching cellar dwellers Adamson and University of Santo Tomas, respectively.
The Baby Tamaraws clobbered the Baby Falcons, 67-42 behind Richard Escoto’s 20 points, while the Junior Archers survived the Tiger Cubs with a hard-fought 49-46 victory.