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Baby Falcons snare Final 4 slot; Cubs humble Junior Maroons

By Ricky Manliguis

SAN JUAN—Adamson secured the top spot in the Final Four, surviving a late-game Ateneo uprising to fashion out a 79-73 victory in the third game of UAAP Season LXXIX junior’s basketball at the FilOil-Flying V Centre Saturday, Jan.21.

The Baby Falcons waxed hot early on behind Encho Serrano and Jason Celis, but had to withstand the fightback by the Eaglets in the fourth quarter to secure the victory, the team’s ninth against a solitary loss.

The win also secured the San Marcelino-based squad with one of the two twice-to-beat seats in the Final Four, just ahead of FEU-Diliman and Nazareth School of National U, which tote identical 8-2 win-loss records.

Serrano, Celis, and Rence Padrigao joint forces in instigating a 25-point first quarter advantage, and seemed to be blowing the game wide open going into the final 10 minutes with a 68-47 cushion.

The Eaglets made things a lot more interesting though, with prolific guard SJ Belangel leading a 26-11 closing salvo, which proved to be too little, too late.

Serrano, the leading candidate for MVP, once again led the charge with 15 points with four rebounds and two assists. Padrigao contributed his season-best 13 markers, three assists and two steals, while Celis also chipped in 13.

Belangel finished with 18 points for Ateneo, which fell to an even 5-5 card.

In the final game of the day, University of Santo Tomas stirred up the race for the last slot in the next round with a 91-83 win over UPIS for its third win in 10 matches.

Jan Narvasa and Crispin Cansino each scored 22 points and combining for 24 rebounds as the Tiger Cubs dashed the playoff aspirations of the Junior Maroons, which fell to 3-7.

Juan Gomez De LiaƱo paced UPIS with 27 points, while Matt Santiago and Byran Joshua Lina contributed 17 and 16 markers, respectively.

The Scores:
Third Game
Adamson 79 – Serrano 15, Padrigao 13, Celis 13, Tamayo 6, Agbong 6, Abadiano 5, Umayao 5, Antiporda 4, Beltran 4, Sabandal 4, Santos 2, Desoyo 2
Ateneo 73 – Belangel 18, Manuel 14, Credo 13, Berjay 11, Ildefonso 9, Angeles 4, Salazar 2, Flores 2, Escalona 0, Sotto 0
Quarterscores: 25-9, 46-22, 68-47, 79-73
Fourth Game
UST 91 – Narvasa 22, Cansino 22, Fornillos 15, Balingit 8, Vince 7, Juan 5, Ratuiste 4, Dela Cruz 4, Villapando 4, Ian 0, Ballada 0
UPIS 83 – Gomez de Liano 27, Santiago 17, Lina 16, Labao Raf 10, Labao Ral 7, Vergeire 3, Tupaz 2, Gregorio 1, Estrera 0, Villa-real 0, Lagahit 0
Quarterscores: 21-16, 47-39, 70-57, 91-83

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