MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo de Manila University, playing with their tails between their legs, pulled off the biggest surprise of the UAAP Season 85 High School Boys’ Basketball Championship on Saturday at Paco Arena, snapping Adamson University’s 11-game winning streak with a stunning 58-55 victory.
Despite improving to 5-8, the Blue Eagles’ Final Four is no longer in their control. They pray that University of Santo Tomas loses its rivalry game against De La Salle Zobel on Wednesday while wins its games against the Soaring Falcons and University of the Philippines Integrated School that day.
Reggie Varilla, the head coach of Ateneo High, is nonetheless proud of his team for taking a stand against the previous league leaders despite their current situation.
Adamson took a 55-54 lead when Peter Rosillo connected with Mat Edding for a clear jump shot with just 30 seconds remaining in the contest.
Lebron Nieto recovered a Jordan Salandanan deep-range miss. With eight ticks left, Nieto was fouled by Edding during a putback attempt, sending him to the line.
The guard in Grade 12 made both of his free throw attempts, giving Ateneo the lead.
Rosillo attempted the fast shot following a timeout but missed. With 1.8 seconds left on the clock, Nieto stepped to the foul line once more, increasing Ateneo’s lead to three.
The top seed dreams of Rosillo are in jeopardy going into the final game day on Wednesday at the FilOil EcoOil Centre after attempting a hail mary with no timeouts but missing.
Kristian Porter, a Cebuano big man in grade 11, scored 17 points while pulling down 20 rebounds, while Nieto contributed 19 points, six steals, five rebounds, and five assists.
Edding contributed 14 points and nine rebounds, while Vince Reyes led the Baby Falcons with 19 points.
Rosillo was only able to score eight points on 3-of-12 shooting from the field against Ateneo.
Far Eastern University-Diliman and Nazareth School of National University also received an unforeseen benefit from Ateneo’s victory.
The Baby Tamaraws earlier destroyed University of the East, a distant second, 96–87.
Guard JR Pasaol, who is in grade 12, emerged from his funk for FEU-D, scoring 24 points while adding six rebounds, six assists, and three steals.
A double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds was recorded by Kirby Mongcopa, while VJ Pre contributed 10 points and six rebounds from the frontcourt.
With identical 11-2 records, FEU-D and Adamson are now tied for first place in the rankings. If DLSZ is defeated later in the day, NSNU can join the fight.
Scores at the end of the matches:
FEU-D with 96 points
Individual scores: Pasaol 24, Mongcopa 19, Pre 10, Pascual 9, Salangsang 8, Cabonillas 7, Miranda 5, Daa 5, Felipe 4, Herbito 3, Burgos 2, Baricaua 0, Castillejos 0, Cabigting 0
UE with 87 points
Individual scores: Gragasin 14, Pangilinan 10, Roldan 10, Malonzo 8, Caldit 8, Bagro 7, Reyes 7, Flores 6, Duque 5, De Leon 5, Gatchalian 4, Reyes 3, Isip 0, Morales 0, Ramos 0
Scores per quarter:
25-16, 55-33, 79-56, 96-87
Ateneo with 58 points
Individual scores: Nieto 19, Porter 17, Adevoso 6, Fidel 5, De Guzman 3, Santiago 2, Arada 2, Aguirre 2, Domangcas 2, Urbina 0, Prado 0, Ebdane 0, Salandanan 0
AdU with 55 points
Individual scores: Reyes 19, Edding 14, Rosillo 8, Bonzalida 4, Medina 3, Perez 3, Abayon 2, Carillo 2, Culdora 0, Sajili 0, Mepana 0, De Jesus 0, De Guzman 0, Tambauan 0