Eagles, Lions tangle for 2nd finals berth

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Ateneo and San Beda dispute the last title berth in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League Sunday at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

The Blue Eagles and the Red Lions collide in the last game of the round-robin semifinals at 4 p.m., with the winner advancing against University of Santo Tomas in the best-of-three title series beginning  Tuesday.

UST, which clinched the first finals berth with successive wins over Ateneo and San Beda, wraps up its semifinal stint versus Cebu’s Southwestern University at 2 p.m.

The Tigers first avenged their UAAP finals loss to the five-time champion Blue Eagles, 76-66, then followed it up by downing the Red Lions, the three-time NCAA titlist, 63-60.

Both the Blue Eagles and the Red Lions claim they’re far from their ideal shape.

“We were off for three weeks, but of course that’s not an excuse,” said San Beda coach Ronnie Magsanoc. “We hope to play sharper.”

Before bowing to the Tigers, the Lions narrowly escaped the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) champion Cobras, 73-72, last Wednesday.

The Lions missed the services of Nigerian center Ola Adeogun in both games due to an ankle injury, and had been leaning on Kyle Pascual along with guards Baser Amer and Anjo Caram.

Ateneo big man Greg Slaughter had also been hampered with a shoulder injury, but got his groove back against the Cobras to finish with a game-high 18 points.

“They’re (Eagles) more comfortable now with Greg,” said assistant coach Gabby Severino, who has been calling the shots for Ateneo in the tournament. “He hasn’t played for quite a time, so he was a bit rusty. But he’s better now.”

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