The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons finally ended their 21-year Final Four drought with a win over the Dela Salle University Green Archers on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
The Fighting Maroons were off to a blazing start, following back-to-back threes from the Leano brothers, who made up for a bulk of the 52 Maroon points versus La Salle’s 29 by the end of the first half.
The Green Archers flexed their guns in the third, cutting down the lead to 17 by the end of the quarter.
The Archers tried to further cut down the lead in the fourth, but time was not on their side, as the Maroons held on to win and reach the Final Four, which they last reached in 1997.
The final score was 97-81.
Juan Lopez de Leano led the Maroons’ offense, with 27 points, while his brother Javi chipped in 19.
Most Valuable Player candidate Bright Akhuetie finished with 16 points.
Justine Baltazar led the Green Archers with 22 points.
With the Maroons safe as the third seed because of their superior quotient over the Green Archers, whose record dropped to 8 wins and 6 losses like UP, DLSU will have to wait for the outcome of the Far Eastern University vs Adamson match to determine their fate.
If the FEU Tamaraws, currently with a 7-6 record, win that match, FEU will play the Green Archers in a knockout match for the fourth seed.
If FEU loses, DLSU finishes fourth.
UP is slated to face the second seed Adamson Soaring Falcons in a Final Four match.