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La Salle finishes at number one, to face Ateneo in UAAP soccer semis

By Dugout Philippines

QUEZON CITY--La Salle finished on top of the table with a 1-0 win over NU, while Ateneo nipped UST, 2-1, to claim the remaining Final Four slot in the UAAP Season 77 men's football tournament on Sunday.

Sabin Bustamante's fifth minute strike was enough for the Green Booters to clinch the No. 1 seed with 32 points and face the Blue Eagles in the knockout semifinals next Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

It was an impressive elimination campaign for La Salle, which last won a title in 1998, as coach Hans Smit's side never tasted a defeat in the tournament. 

Defending champion FEU routed UE, 5-0, to finish second and forge a semis duel with last season's runner-up UP, which battled Adamson to a 1-1 standoff.

Kendall Colet scored from a set piece in the 87th minute to gives Ateneo the lead. 

The Eagles were staring at a playoff with the Bulldogs after Steven Anotado equalized for the Growling Tigers on the 69th minute.

Ateneo, which wound up two clear of NU with 25 points, opened the scoring on the 17th minute courtesy of Mikko Mabanag.

The Tamaraws collected 30 points in second place while the Fighting Maroons had 28 points in third spot. The FEU-UP duel, a rematch of last season's Finals, is also scheduled next Sunday at the Malate venue.

Jess Melliza (3rd, 9th) and Arnel Amita (19th, 37th) netted a brace, while Eric Giganto fired his 16th goal of the season in the 40th for the Tamaraws, who fielded in reigning MVP Paolo Bugas late in the match, his first appearance since going down with a knee injury in the first round.

Maroons skipper Jinggoy Valmayor struck on the 27th minute, hiking his goal total to 15, before Bless Brian Jumo II converted the equalizer on the 88th, helping the Falcons to end the season with back-to-back draws after 12 straight losses.