Maroons, Eagles set title rematch

John Bryan Ulanday - The Philippine Star
Maroons, Eagles set title rematch
Ateneo de Manila University advanced to the finals after trouncing Adamson University, 81-60, in the UAAP men's basketball game held at Araneta Coliseum on December 7, 2022.
STAR / Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines — It’s on to another chapter of the “Battle of Katipunan” rivalry.

Reigning champion University of the Philippines and rival Ateneo dispatched their respective Final Four counterparts in one attempt to book a mouthwatering UAAP title rematch.

The second-seeded Maroons tamed No. 4 National U with a gritty 69-61 win while the top-ranked Eagles clipped the wings of No. 3 Adamson, 81-60, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum yesterday.

And thus the two teams set a second straight title showdown and third in the last four seasons.

Their duel in Season 84 last summer was one for the books with UP ending a 36-year-old title drought on JD Cagulangan’s buzzer-beater while putting an end to Ateneo’s three-year reign.

Ateneo clinched its sixth straight finals appearance opposite a UP team which now has a shot at two UAAP titles in just one year amidst the extraordinary time of the pandemic.

As UP gained a crack at it behind presumptive MVP Malick Diouf’s 17 points, 21 rebounds and three blocks, Ateneo made sure to follow suit behind the quartet of Forthsky Padrigao (16), Chris Koon (15), Kai Ballungay (13) and Dave Ildefonso (11).

Zavier Lucero (12) and Cyril Gonzales (11) turned in solid help with Cagulangan (8) and Gerry Abadiano (7) finishing an 11-0 closeout in stepping up for Carl Tamayo, who had six points in 11 minutes due to a sprained ankle suffered in the first quarter.

Earlier, National U zeroed in on a seventh straight championship as it walloped La Salle, 93-61, in Game 1 of the best-of-three women’s finals.


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