NATIONAL University and Ateneo will face off in the Finals for the second straight year after repulsing lower-ranked foes yesterday in the UAAP juniors basketball Final Four at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Terrence Fortea scattered 30 points in the first three quarters as the Bullpups claimed their eighth consecutive championship appearance with a 94-72 rout of Adamson.
Kai Sotto rebounded in the second half as the back-to-back title-seeking Blue Eaglets overcame a stirring Far Eastern University-Diliman fightback to fashion out a 90-82 victory.
NU and Ateneo open their best-of-three series on Monday at the San Juan arena. The Bullpups swept the Eaglets in their head-to-head this season.
Coming off the bench, Fortea was unconcious in the first half with 22 points as the Bullpups raced to a 54-35 lead at the break.
“He really played well. Day in and day out, ganoon naman talaga siya. He will try his best,” said NU coach Goldwin Monteverde on Fortea, who went 7-of-14 from the three-point area.
Ranged against the Baby Falcons that dealt their lone loss of the season, Monteverde was satisfied his troops performed to extend the Bullpups’ winning streak to nine games.
“We really prepared this game. Na-execute naman namin yung mga plays. Ang importante is we get ready for the Finals,” said Monteverde.
Cyril Gonzales and Gerry Abadiano added 13 and 11 points, respectively, for NU.
Sotto scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half to go with eight rebounds while rookie Ian Espinosa added 19 points, four assists, three boards and two steals for Ateneo.
Down by as much as 21, the Baby Tamaraws were able to cut down the deficit to six but the Eaglets were able to hold on up to the very end to clinch their second straight Finals stint.
NU (94) — Fortea 30, Gonzales 13, Abadiano 11, Quiambao 8, Felicilda 7, Torres 6, Tamayo 4, Dayrit 3, Alarcon 3, Mailim 3, Enriquez 2, Vinoya 2, Buensalida 1, Javillonar 1, Abiera 0, Songcuya 0.
AdU (72) — Hanapi 19, Manlapaz 12, Guarino 11, An. Doria 8, Ad. Doria 7, Engbino 7, Sabandal 7, Capulong 1, Prodigo 0, Barcelona 0, Dominguez 0.
Quarterscpres: 30-18, 54-35, 76-56, 94-72
Ateneo (90) — Sotto 22, Espinosa 19, Jaymalin 17, Chiu 11, David 7, Fetalvero 6, Padrigao 4, Diaz 4, De Ayre 0, Coo 0, Lechoncito 0.
FEU (82) — Tolentino 19, Abarrientos 17, Torres 14, Alforque 12, J. Bautista 7, Sajonia 6, Barasi 4, Anonuevo 3, Ona 0, Armendez 0.
Quarterscores: 18-18, 39-29, 66-52, 90-82