UAAP: La Salle nears twice-to-beat, denies Ateneo of outright Final Four
MANILA, Philippines–Just like in their first round encounter, La Salle on Saturday knew Ateneo would make a fourth quarter rally.
“We just slugged it out with them. We were ahead most of the time and we knew that they were going to bounce back and fight their way through but I guess we’ve learned from our mistakes during the first time we played them,” said La Salle coach Topex Robinson.
“These players have grown through those experiences and I’m just happy that these guys never gave up and kept playing basketball the way it should be.”
La Salle completed a second-round sweep but more importantly, put itself in a great position to claim the last twice-to-beat incentive with an 11-3 record.
MVP frontrunner Kevin Quiambao continued to display his all-around brilliance, finishing with 14 points, nine rebounds, six assists, one steal and a block while Mike Phillips and Evan Nelle hit timely baskets down the stretch after the Blue Eagles battled back after trailing by eight.
Phillips also did a bit of everything with 10 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks while Nelle collected 10 points, five rebounds and six assists.
La Salle’s victory also denied Ateneo (7-7) an outright Final Four berth. An Adamson win over University of the East on Sunday will pave the way for a playoff for the No. 4 seed between the Falcons and the Eagles.
Joseph Obasa finished just a rebound shy of a double-double with 21 points and nine boards for Ateneo, which beat La Salle, 77-71, last October 4, while Kai Ballungay and Mason Omos finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively.