Ateneo routs UP anew, sweeps way to outright UAAP finals berth
SJ Belangel goes up for a shot against Juan Gomez de Liano in Ateneo's second round encounter against the UP Fighting Maroons on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. Cagadas
Ateneo routs UP anew, sweeps way to outright UAAP finals berth
Luisa Morales ( - October 30, 2019 - 6:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Ateneo Blues reasserted their mastery over second-seeded UP with an 86-64 blowout in the final game of the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament eliminations at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday to earn an outright ticket to the finals.

Sweeping all 14 of their elimination games, defending champions Ateneo will await the winner of a step-ladder semifinals where the second, third and fourth seed teams battle it out.

Role player SJ Belangel was clinical against last year's runners-up, with his personal 7-0 run sparking Ateneo's scoring barrage that blew the game wide open.

It was a close contest in the opening quarter, with the squads going back and forth.

The Maroons held a slim one-point advantage after the first canto, 21-20.

But once the Eagles stepped on the gas pedal, the Maroons just couldn't recover.

Ateneo's lead ballooned to as much as 24 in the fourth quarter.

Angelo Kouame also came out big for the Eagles, ruling the paint against last year's MVP Bright Akhuetie.

Will Navarro and Matt Nieto were also key in the Eagles' blowout.

The step-ladder semifinals will begin on November 6 with fourth-seeded UST taking on FEU.

This marks the first time that there will be a step-ladder semis since 2007. The UE Red Warriors was the last team to earn an outright finals berth.

The Warriors, however, were swept in the finals that year by the DLSU Archers, who ended up champions.

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