Ateneo defeats La Salle, 65-57Next up, a Final Four meeting with UE. Ateneo will have a twice-to-beat edge there.
By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines -- Ateneo forced De La Salle into an awful shooting night as the Eagles hammered out a gutsy 65-57 win over the Archers that completed a regular season sweep of their blockbuster rival before another sellout crowd at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Big men Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Nonoy Baclao delivered the impact points in the second half and the Eagles shutout the Archers in the final 3:34 to finish the elimination-round at 13-1, a feat highlighted by a sweep in the second round.
The 6-foot-4 Baclao, who grabbed eight rebounds and had four blocks, hit 11 points, including a nifty lay-up off Rico Maierhofer with 2:22 left to push Ateneo's lead, 64-57.
The Eagles made some key defensive stops from there with Baclao swatting away a late Maierhofer effort, before Jai Reyes wrapped up the win with a split from the free throw line with 20.9 ticks remaining.
However, by the time they face off the Eagles and the Red Warriors will not have played for eight and ten days, respectively. We'll see how the long vacation affects both squads, but I'm willing to bet the first quarter of that encounter will be ugly.