UE stops Ateneo but crashes out of Final 4 after FEU loss
UNIVERSITY of the East made Far Eastern U’s job a lot easier. But the Tamaraws just couldn’t return the favor.
The Warriors gift-wrapped the twice-to-beat semifinal bonus to FEU by beating Ateneo and pinning the Eagles firmly at third place, but the Tamaraws failed to repay the goodwill when they dropped a 70-68 decision to defending champion National U that booted the Warriors out of UAAP Final Four contention.
“We really talked about having an unwavering faith in each other, in the system, and they showed it tonight,” said Bulldogs coach coach Eric Altamirano after the doubleheader at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Warriors put their faith in FEU to keep them alive for a Final Four berth after they did their part, stunning Ateneo, 74-69, to relegate the Blue Eagles to a 9-5 slate and assure the Tamaraws the twice-to-beat semifinal advantage even before FEU took the floor versus NU.
But with the Bulldogs winning, the race for the last semifinal berth came down to NU and La Salle.
“Right now we’re just going to wait for the results,” said Altamirano. “What’s important is we hurdled our assignment. Our destiny depends on Wednesday. If there’s a playoff, so be it.”
The FEU loss also propelled University of Santo Tomas (11-3) to No. 1 as the the Tigers hold a superior quotient even if they wound up tied with the Tamaraws (10-3) by the end of the eliminations.
“The objective was to win the game,” said FEU coach Nash Racela after his Tamaraws blew their shot at the No. 1 spot.
“We should be thankful to UE for winning the game against Ateneo. That gave us the incentive. We wanted to repay them with this game so they’ll have a chance, so I apologize.”
FEU, the No. 2 seed regardless of the results on Wednesday, will battle Ateneo in the Final Four, while UST will take on either NU or La Salle in the other pairing.
Gelo Alolino played hero again for the Bulldogs as the veteran guard knocked in the game-winning jumper with 33.5 seconds left.
UE 74—Derige 17, Javier 13, De Leon 10, Batiller 9, Yu 8, P. Varilla 7, Palma 6, Charcos 4, Cudal 0, Sta. Ana 0, J. Varilla 0.
ATENEO 69—Ravena 28, Pessumal 10, Black 8, Wong 5, Capacio 4, Ikeh 4, Mi. Nieto 4, Babilonia 2, A. Tolentino 2, V. Tolentino 2, Cani 0, Gotladera 0, Pingoy 0, Go 0.
Quarters: 16-21, 35-26, 53-51, 74-69
NU 70—Alolino 20, Aroga 16, Celda 9, Javillonar 9, Javelona 6, Diputado 4, Alejandro 2, Neypes 2, Salim 2, Abatayo 0, Morido 0.
FEU 68—Tolomia 23, Arong 10, Ru. Escoto 9, Pogoy 8, Belo 8, Tamsi 5, Ri. Escoto 2, Iñigo 2, Orizu 1, Eboña 0, S. Holmqvist 0, Trinidad 0.
Quarters: 14-17, 32-31, 51-50, 70-68
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