THE second of the Final Four matchups in Season 79 of University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball fires off this weekend with second seeds Ateneo Blue Eagles battling the defending champions and number three team Far Eastern University Tamaraws at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Following the semifinal tiff between tops seeds De La Salle Green Archers and fourth-seeded Adamson Soaring Falcons, which the former won, it is now time for Ateneo and FEU to dispute the other semifinal seat beginning with their 4 p.m. encounter tomorrow. Incidentally, the Eagles (10-4) hold a twice-to-beat advantage over the Tamaraws (9-5).

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FOUND themselves in a battle all game long in their University Athletic Association of the Philippines semifinals, the De La Salle Green Archers stood their ground and eventually staved off the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 69-64, yesterday to claim the first finals seat in Season 79 men’s basketball.

Holding a twice-to-beat edge in the Final Four, the Taft-based Archers saw no need to use of as they dispatched the Falcons at the first instance, with import Ben Mbala and Jeron Teng showing the way, but not after being made to sweat by their opponents.

La Salle started the game strong with a 7-0 run, five coming from Teng.

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THE defending champions Far Eastern University Tamaraws bucked a sluggish performance yesterday to come from behind and beat the University of the East Red Warriors, 64-61, and snap their losing streak in the windup of the eliminations round of Season 79 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.

Riding on the stepped-up play of guards Wendell Comboy and Axel Iñigo down the stretch, the Tamaraws completed a turnaround in a game that saw them trail for much of the contest. The win halted FEU’s slide to three games while also keeping its slim top two hopes alive.

FEU trailed early in the match, surrendering a 20-11 advantage to UE at the end of the first quarter before getting its bearing in the second canto to outscore its opponent, 23-14, to knot the game at 34-all by half time.

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Played their last game on Sunday against the University of the East Red Warriors, the Maroons ended their season with a 5-9 record for a share of fifth spot with the National University Bulldogs.

The five wins were the highest for the Diliman-based team since Season 68 of the UAAP when they finished their campaign with a 6-8 card.

While they failed to advance to the next round anew, graduating members of the UP men’s basketball team said that all told, as the popular adage goes, it was more of the journey for them not the destination.

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