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Hearts will be broken as AdU, UST clash KO tiff

By Jerome Lagunzad

Game Today
(Blue Eagle gym)
10 a.m. – UST vs Adamson
(Knockout match for final playoff spot)

Some hearts will be broken right on Valentine’s Day as University of Santo Tomas and Adamson square off in a knockout duel today for the last playoff spot in the UAAP juniors basketball tournament at the Blue Eagle gym.

Tip off is at 10 a.m., with the struggling Tiger Cubs and the resurgent Baby Falcons going at it for the final time, with the winner advancing to the opening phase of the stepladder semifinals against defending champion Far Eastern University Baby Tamaraws.

All eyes will be on UST star CJ Cansino, who is eager to help the Tiger Cubs’ collective bid this time after realizing his own lofty goal of hoisting the tourney’s highest individual award.

But Cansino, good for league-leading averages of 24.6 points and 12.6 rebounds on top of 3.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game, still needs strong support from the likes of Bismarck Lina, Kobe Palencia and Rayjhun Baquial to keep their title hopes alive.

Out to foil them are the Baby Falcons who made big strides in the second round of eliminations behind the exploits of Jose Sabandal, who finished seventh overall in the MVP race, along with Andrey Doria and Adrian Manlapaz.

Both teams split their first two matches in the eliminations, with the Tiger Cubs taking the initial encounter, 78-69, behind Cansino’s 26-point explosion and the Baby Falcons earning some payback through a 91-74 win in their rematch.

Powerhouse Ateneo, which completed a 14-game sweep of the elimination round, has already cemented its place in the best-of-three finals while second-ranked National University will be armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the final stage of the stepladder semis.