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UAAP Final 4 cast complete as FEU qualifies, UP seals 2nd seed

MANILA — The UAAP men's basketball Final 4 is now cast.

The Far Eastern University Tamaraws and the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons scored separate wins to secure their spots in the postseason festivities on Sunday night, with UP's win catapulting the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers into the next round.

However, the Tamaraws and the Fighting Maroons won in contrasting ways.

FEU romped University of the East Red Warriors, 82-58, in the first game.

The Tamaraws went on a 25-12 second quarter run to pull away for good from the Red Warriors.

Wendell Comboy made 17 points, four rebounds, and one block, while Royce Alforque added 13 points, one rebound, three assists, and one steal for the now 8-6 FEU, which sealed the third seed in the process as it owns the tiebreaker over UST due to a superior head-to-head quotient.

LJ Gonzales put up a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds with four assists and one steal.

Rey Suerte made 16 markers, 11 boards, four dimes, and five steals, while Alex Diakhite added 13 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, and three blocks for UE, which slipped to 3-10.

On the other hand, UP had to make a late comeback to eliminate the De La Salle Green Archers, 71-68.

Up by as much as 16 points in the second quarter but trailing, 66-68, within the last two minutes, the Fighting Maroons scored the last five points of the game highlighted by a go-ahead dunk from Kobe Paras to steal the win against the Green Archers.

Bright Akhuetie made 17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, and two steals for UP, which finally sealed the second seed by moving up to 9-4, and a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals.

The semifinals format will depend on UP's Wednesday night game against the 13-0 Ateneo Blue Eagles.

A win by the Blue Eagles will give them a 14-0 sweep and also force the stepladder format, which means the Tamaraws and the Growling Tigers will have to face off one more time for the right to face the Fighting Maroons.

But a UP win will prevent the sweep and will force the traditional Final Four format, in which Ateneo, already assured of a twice-to-beat edge, will play UST, while UP will take on FEU.

Jaime Malonzo made 17 markers, 11 boards, two steals, one steal, and one block for La Salle, which was knocked out of contention with a 6-7 record.

The Scores:

First Game

FEU 82 -- Comboy 17, Alforque 13, Gonzales 12, Tuffin 9, Stockton 7, Tchuente 5, Ebona 4, Torres 3, Bayquin 2, Bienes 2, Cani 2, Dulatre 2, Nunag 2, Tempra 2, Celzo 0, Mantua 0.

UE 58 -- Suerte 16, Diakhite 13, Cruz 12, Tolentino 9, Manalang 5, Apacible 3, Antiporda 0, Beltran 0, Conner 0, Lorenzana 0, Mendoza 0, Pagsanjan 0, Sawat 0.

Quarters: 15-14, 40-26, 57-42, 82-58.

Second Game

UP 71 -- Akhuetie 17, Rivero 12, Manzo 11, Paras 10, Ja. Gomez de Liano 8, Webb 6, Ju. Gomez de Liano 3, Prado 2, Tungcab 2, Spencer 0.

LA SALLE 68 -- Malonzo 17, Melecio 12, Baltazar 10, Bates 8, Serrano 8, Lojera 4, Manuel 4, Bartlett 3, Hill 2, Caracut 0.

Quarters: 21-11, 35-34, 55-45, 71-68. (PNA)

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