By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles showed they still had more than enough gas left in the tank and annihilated the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 70-48, during the playoff knockout match for the last Final Four spot of the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament last November 22, 2023.
Facing elimination while also protecting their UAAP Final Four streak, the Blue Eagles came out with a sense of urgency and dominated the Soaring Falcons in all facets of the game.
Jared Brown led the charge for Ateneo after top-scoring with 20 points built from an efficient 4/7 shooting from the three-point territory.
The leftie guard kicked off Ateneo’s trey party in the first quarter as he unloaded back-to-back trifectas to help the Blue Eagles gain an early 8-0 advantage.
Despite Adamson’s early answers coming from deuces that were converted from broken plays, the Blue Eagles continued to play their brand of basketball and defended the perimeter well to avoid the fate they received at the hands of the Soaring Falcons where they won via a game-winner.
Sean Quitevis, one of the few Seniors who were left from their past championship roster, also stepped up for the Blue Eagles after contributing 11 markers.
Not known to be an effective outside shooter, Quitevis made Adamson pay when they dared him to shoot from the rainbow country.
Adamson had a mini-scoring run in the third canto that got them to within 13 points but a counter-rally from Ateneo ballooned their lead back to 18 points which was too much for the Soaring Falcons to recover.
Kai Ballungay wrapped up the Final Four KO match with an all-around performance of seven points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
With the win, Ateneo will have an early rematch with the UP Fighting Maroons in the first game of the Final Four.
After their convincing win over the NU Bulldogs a couple of days ago, the Fighting Maroons just gained a much-needed twice-to-beat advantage over the Blue Eagles.