STA. ROSA, Laguna -- The Ateneo Blue Eagles booked their ticket to the final four after romping University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 82-71, in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League NCAA-UAAP Challenge at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City on Sunday night.
The Blue Eagles recovered in time after the Growling Tigers came alive in the third quarter of their UAAP finals rematch.
Ateneo waxed hot in the first quarter, scoring 29 points while opening a 14-point lead.
UST, however, slowly recovered and cut the lead to just one, 66-65, after the third quarter.
The Growling Tigers eventually fizzled as the Blue Eagles held them to just six points in the fourth quarter.
SJ Belangel exploded anew for Ateneo, dropping 26 points on 6-of-9 shooting from long range, two rebounds, and two steals for Ateneo, which can complete the 3-0 sweep of the special mini-tournament with a win against Letran Knights on Saturday.
Ange Kouame added 15 points, 13 rebounds, one assist, and five blocks.
Rhenz Abando and Vince Cuajao each scored 14 points for UST, which will face San Beda Red Lions on Saturday to determine which team will join Ateneo in the Final 4.
Meanwhile, the University of the Philippines and Diliman College went off to a hot start in the Luzon Regional Finals at the Jesse Robredo Coliseum in Naga, Camarines Sur.
Diliman clobbered Annunciation College of Bacon Sorsogon Unit, 86-61, while UP romped Naga College Foundation in an essential road game, 83-45.
UP will next face Annunciation, while Diliman will battle NCF on Monday night also at the Jesse Robredo Coliseum.
The top two teams after their single round-robin tournament will face off in the final on Wednesday to determine which team will join the Final 4. (PNA)