By Jerome Lagunzad
Unforgiving on the defensive end, Ateneo repeated over Adamson, 64-47, yesterday to close in on the first Final Four berth in the UAAP Season 80 juniors basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Sean Ildefonso led another balanced attack with 12 points while towering center Kai Sotto anchored the lane with 12 rebounds and five blocks as the Blue Eaglets made it nine wins in a row and assured themselves of at least a playoff for a semis spot.
Their collective desire to play lockdown defense did the trick anew for the Blue Eaglets, who led by as many as 24 points and forced the Baby Falcons to miss 59 of their 74 attempts from the field.
Adam Doria and Jun Baculio combined for 23 points and 10 rebounds for Adamson, which moved out of the “Magic Four” with a 4-5 mark.
Serving the day’s biggest upset was University of the Philippines which tamed University of Santo Tomas, 91-87, behind a torrid 34-point assault in the stretch.
Matt Santiago fired away nine of his 14 points in the payoff period where he teamed up with Rafael Labao as UP rallied from 15 points down that left the erstwhile favored UST side stunned.
The Junior Maroons improved their mark to 2-7 while the Tigers Cubs, despite CJ Cansino’s 29-point, 18-rebound showing, dropped to 5-4, slipping down to third spot in a tie with defending champion Far Eastern University-Diliman.
The Baby Tamaraws, working behind a big surge in the second half, defeated University of the East Junior Warriors, 91-63, to get their title campaign back on track.