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La Salle-Zobel knocks out Adamson to begin UAAP juniors basketball playoffs

By Dugout Philippines

Aljun Melecio shot 21 points as La Salle-Zobel overcame Adamson, 87-81, to stave off elimination in the UAAP juniors basketball tournament.

The fourth-ranked Junior Archers will face defending champion and twice-to-beat NU in the second stepladder semifinals match on Monday 1 p.m. at the Blue Eagle Gym.        

Ateneo is waiting in the wings, as it holds a thrice-to-beat edge in the championship round after completing a 14-game sweep of the double-round eliminations.        

Noah Webb's basket gave La Salle-Zobel its biggest lead, 64-44, with 1:09 remaining in the third canto.        

The Baby Falcons threatened to turn things around at 79-85, on a three-pointer by Gerald Fernandez, with 22.1 seconds remaining before Brent Paraiso sealed the Junior Archers' win by hitting two buffer free throws for a 87-79 advantage.        

Melecio also had eight rebounds and three assists before fouling out in the final two minutes, while Quinito Banzon added 20 markers for La Salle-Zobel.        

It was a sorry ending to otherwise remarkable campaign by Adamson, which made it to the semifinals for the first time since 2008. The Baby Falcons lost to the Bullpups, 45-72, in last Tuesday's playoff for the No. 2 slot.        

Frederick Tungcab came through with a double-double effort of 20 points and 17 boards while James Pasturan chipped in 17 markers for Adamson.