Maroons Dominate Bulldogs in Anticipated Showdown to Secure Top Ranking
The University of the Philippines (UP) secured the top spot of the Final Four after a resounding victory over National University (NU), with a 79-57 win against the Bulldogs at Mall of Asia Arena, finalizing the top three after Adamson’s win against UAAP men’s basketball king. The Fighting Maroons led throughout, ending with a 12-2 record for No. 1 and a twice-to-beat advantage, granting La Salle the second playoff bonus. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs qualified as the third seed but needed to beat the Green Archers twice to reach the title series.
On the other hand, Adamson’s Monty Montebon saved the day by scoring a three-pointer with 2.7 seconds left, leading to a 63-61 win against University of the East (UE) and forging a playoff for the fourth spot.
The Maroons established a 42-30 lead at halftime, propelled by a 51.5-percent shooting performance, while holding the Bulldogs to just 29 percent. Francis Lopez scored 13 points, and Malick Diouf contributed 11 points on 80-percent shooting, along with eight rebounds and three blocks.
The Maroons’ victory was attributed to their better chemistry, with 11 more assists than NU. UP coach Goldwin Monteverde mentioned the importance of defense and improved team play on both ends.
The Archers swept the second round with a 72-69 win against Ateneo, while the Bulldogs sustained their second straight loss. Adamson finished with a 7-7 record, securing a playoff for the right to play UP and earn a seat in the Finals.
UE showcased resilience by coming back from deficits, while Adamson extended their season with a win. The last time Adamson faced Ateneo was on Nov. 12, resulting in a 62-58 win for Ateneo.
Overall, the major highlights of the games were UP’s top seed position, Adamson’s season-extending win, and the impending playoff for the right to play UP in the Finals.