Games today (Sunday)

Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City

2 p.m. – UP vs. NU

4 p.m. – Ateneo vs. La Salle

Team Standings

FEU - 9-1

Ateneo - 7-2

Adamson - 7-3

La Salle - 6-3

NU - 3-6

UE - 3-7

UST - 3-7

UP - 0-9

UNIVERSITY of the East (UE) skipper James Martinez and go-to-guy Paul Lee showed their best form on Saturday to upend Adamson, 71-63, at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

Martinez sparked the fourth quarter rally of the Red Warriors by firing a triple with 4:45 remaining to move ahead at 62-60, with Lee providing clutch assists to allow his teammates to bury back-to-back baskets.

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UE widened the gap at six points courtesy of a Kenneth Acibar goal, 66-60, with 3:02 left but Adamson’s Lester Alvarez drained a trey to inch closer at 66-63.

The San Marcelino-based squad’s late game effort proved to be the last as UE capitalized on its full court press and forced Adamson to commit crucial turnovers, including missed back-to-back triples of Alvarez.

Martinez finished with 16 points while Lee punched in eight markers, five rebounds, five assists and four steals.

“We know that our lives are in the line here. However, if La Salle wins two more games then all these efforts will be put to waste. We are hoping for the best,” coach Lawrence Chongson told reporters.

UE held Adamson to a measly 10-point output in the payoff period as opposed to the team’s 22 with Acibar adding 16 rebounds to his name while Lord Casajeros chipped in 14 markers and four rebounds for the Recto-based squad.

Adamson skidded to 7-3 (win-loss) card while UE upped their record to 3-7, three-and-a half games behind idle La Salle (6-3).

Another semifinal appearance

In the second game, Far Eastern University (FEU) turned back on University of Santo Tomas, 76-67, to enlist the school’s 13th semifinal appearance since the introduction of the Final Four format in 1994.

Bigman Aldrech Ramos and former Baby Tamaraw standout Terrence Romeo led the charge for FEU with 21 points and 13, respectively, to deal UST’s fifth straight loss in the eight-member tournament.

“At least we are already here at the Final Four but we should never rest our guards because our aim is to enter the Top 2, get the twice-to-beat bonus. The players came big for us today. For this game, the defense was concentrated on RR but his assists and leadership inside the court made up for it,” said coach Glenn Capacio.

In a game marked by five deadlocks and four lead changes, FEU repeated its mastery over UST by pulling away in the final canto and crush the hopes of the gritty Espana-based cagers.

Jeric Fortuna, who peppered eight triples in a single game last month, made a poor outside shooting (one of out six attempts) to banner UST’s losing cause with 12 markers, three boards and seven assists.

Capacio, on the other hand, declined to comment further on the performance of the referees, whom he accused last week of spotty officiating during their overtime triumph against UE.

“I always get frustrated everytime that topic is opened up but I’m glad that I was able to raised that issue. I hope they will improve,” he said.

The Tamaraws are still on top of the heap with a 9-1 card while the Tigers found themselves in the brink after sporting a 3-7 slate, alongside UE.

Ateneo, La Salle rivalry

Meantime, the UAAP offers another action-packed double-header Sunday as archrivals Ateneo and La Salle collide for the second time this season.

Last Thursday, Ateneo and La Salle heavily won against National University and University of the Philippines, respectively, which turned out like tune-up matches in time for Sunday’s rumble.

An expected sell-out crowd will gather at the Araneta Coliseum as La Salle tries to sweep the Atenean quintet and bolster their semifinal bid.

The Taft-based squad is at solo third with a 6-3 card while the Katipunan-based cagers are in second place at 7-2.

Ateneo, on the other hand, seeks to rebound from their first round loss, 66-63, last July 24.

In that game, the Green Archers led by second year hotshot Joseph Marata erased the nine-point cushion of the Blue Eagles in less than two minutes and shackle their defense.

La Salle has never won a match against Ateneo since the Season 70 playoffs, which is the prime reason why the Green Archers executed game-changer plays at crunch time to end just that.

Some 16,566 people watched the game based on gate attendance.

Just like last time, tickets for the Ateneo-La Salle clash will be sold separately from the 12 noon square off between UP and NU to allow more fans to watch.

The semifinals match between the two squads last September 30, 2007 at the Big Dome attracted 23,315 fans, which remains to be the biggest attendance recorded in any sporting event in the Philippines.

The Scores

First Game:

UE (71) - Martinez 16, Acibar 15, Casajeros 14, Lee 8, Rosopa 4, Zamar 4, Tagarda 4, Noble 4, Duran 2, Enguio 0, Reyes 0.

Adamson (63) - Colina 14, Camson 13, Alvarez 11, Nuyles 6, Galinato 6, Lozada 4, Stinnett 3, Etrone 3, Cabrera 3, Manyara 0, Canada 0.

Quarters: 16-15, 36-30, 49-53, 71-63.

Second Game:

FEU (76) - Ramos 21, Romeo 13, Garcia 11, Cruz 8, Bringas 7, Noundou 6, Mendoza 3, Sanga 2, Exciminiano 2, Cawaling 2, Knuttel 1.

UST (67) - Fortuna 12, Mariano 11, Camus 11, Teng 10, Bautista 10, Afuang 7, Daquioag 4, Aytona 2, Pe 0, Mamaril 0.

Quarters: 19-17, 34-28, 52-49, 76-67.

(Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)