Ateneo Grit Prevails: UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Final Four Hopes Alive

Ateneo de Manila University showcased nerves of steel in a nail-biting encounter, clinching a crucial 62-58 victory over Adamson University, putting them in the driver’s seat in the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Final Four race.

The Blue Eagles faced a tense moment with 1:23 remaining on the clock when Adamson’s Matthew Montebon sank a three-point shot, narrowing the gap to 59-58. However, Ateneo’s defense tightened, forcing crucial turnovers and executing a strong block by Nigerian center Joseph Obasa to secure their slender lead.

Leading the charge for Ateneo was Sean Quitevis, a graduating guard from Cebu, who contributed 12 points, eight rebounds, one assist, and one block. Reflecting on the tough battle, Quitevis emphasized the team’s commitment to defensive principles and highlighted the significance of heart stats as a true measure of their performance.

Obasa, a one-and-done student-athlete, played a pivotal role with 10 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks, showcasing his defensive prowess as a valuable asset for coach Tab Baldwin. Obasa attributed the team’s success to meticulous preparation, emphasizing the focus on defensive principles in recent weeks.

The victory was particularly crucial for Ateneo, seeking redemption after Adamson’s previous 74-71 win with a buzzer-beater on October 7. Obasa acknowledged the challenging nature of the game and stressed the team’s commitment to maintaining quality throughout the campaign.

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Looking ahead, Ateneo understands the gravity of the upcoming matches against University of the East and archrival De La Salle University. The Blue Eagles recognize the importance of securing victories to solidify their Final Four aspirations, knowing that any lapse could open the door for pursuing opponents like the Soaring Falcons.

Coach Tab Baldwin emphasized the team’s playoff mentality, considering every game as significant and underscoring the need to earn the right to play another game. Obasa echoed this sentiment, highlighting the team’s collective responsibility and trust in each other to navigate the challenges that lie ahead.

In a season marked by resilience and a commitment to excellence, Ateneo remains focused on the ultimate goal—survival and success in the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Final Four.

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