Ateneo de Manila University completed the Final Four cast after taking down also-ran Far Eastern University, 79-66, in Season 86 University Athletic Association of the Philippines women’s basketball tournament on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Blue Eagles improved to 8-4 to stay in the running for a twice-to-beat edge in the postseason as joint-second University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas are just a game ahead at 9-3.
The win also meant the end of the road for De La Salle University, which holds a 5-7 record, just not enough to chase Ateneo with just two games left. They will face each other on Wednesday.
“That was our initial goal, to make the Final Four so we caught the last bus. Last year, we were just happy to make the Final Four but now, we’re looking forward to more,” Ateneo head coach LA Mumar said.
Ahead by just nine after the third period, Sarah Makanjuola, Aishie Solis, and Junize Calago connived in the Blue Eagles’ strong start in the fourth, highlighted by Kacey dela Rosa’s coast-to-coast and-one move, to establish a commanding 19-point lead with 4:54 left in the game.
Dela Rosa delivered a masterpiece of 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the field to go with 12 rebounds and three blocks.