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Ateneo renews rivalry with La Salle, guns for last Final Four slot

Defending champion Ateneo eyes the last Final Four seat when it takes the only undefeated squad in the second round De La Salle in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Game time is at 6 p.m. as the main event of the weekend double-header.

While La Salle (10-3) had already advanced to the semifinal along with the NU Bulldogs and the UP Fighting Maroons, Ateneo (7-6) is looking to catch the last ride back to the Final Four.

UAAP 86 Basketball DLSU- Kevin Quiambao.jpg
La Salle’s Kevin Quiambao (UAAP Media)

The Blue Eagles clinched a fourth-seed playoff following their 80-74 victory over the UE Red Warriors and only need this win against the hot-streaking Green Archers to officially eliminate the Adamson Soaring Falcons from the competition.

However, if Ateneo loses to La Salle and Adamson edges UE the following day, both squads will dispute the last slot as potential two-way tie is in sight.

Rookies Jared Brown and Mason Amos along with Kai Ballungay and big man Joseph Obasa are expected to make things difficult for the Kevin Quiambao-led La Salle in sweeping the second part of the tournament.

The Green Archers are on a seven-game winning run and a possible victory along with a UP win over NU the next day could give them an outright No. 2 seed.

Most importantly, La Salle is set to earn a playoff for the twice-to-beat bonus.

In the first round, the Blue Eagles escaped the Green Archers 77-72 for their first win of the season.

But things are looking different now for the La Salle side as MVP frontrunner Quiambao is now in his best form, averaging a double-double per game and delivering a rare two triple-double brilliance in the second round.

In the first offering, Far Eastern University (3-10) and University of Santo Tomas (1-12) tussle at 2 p.m. for their final game of the season.

In what turned out to be another sorry season, both squads are hoping to end their campaign on a winning note.

Last year, in a battle of cellar dwellers, the Tamaraws turner back the Growling Tigers to save themselves some pride closing the season.

However, UST had the last laugh as it ended its 20-game losing streak at the expense of FEU in the first round.

Graduating L-Jay Gonzales had no regrets despite FEU’s missed back-to-back Final Four as he looks to give his all for the last time in his collegiate career.

On the other end, Nic Cabañero and Christian Manaytay will put UST on their backs to ensure to go out on a bright note.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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