UP Fighting Maroons stop Ateneo Blue Eagles’ 4-year streak, UAAP finals face-off looms

UP Fighting Maroons UAAP finals
The Fighting Maroons lead the singing of the UP Naming Mahal at the SM MOA after a historic win on Sunday night. UAAP photo.

The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons (UP Fighting Maroons) stopped the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles’ 39 games winning streak in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), achieving what no other ball club could do in 4 years.

The UP Men’s Basketball Team delivered the biggest upset, so far, of UAAP Season 84 witnessed by the audience at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, on free TV in the Philippines, and on streaming platforms as the second round of eliminations wrapped up on May 1, 2022, with the final game between UP and Ateneo ending on an 84-83 scorecard in favor of the state university squad.

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An Ateneo Blue Eagles sweep of the elimination round was ended by the UP Fighting Maroons who dictated the pace for most of the game, blasting into a 27-13 lead in the first quarter, keeping the lead at 50-44 in the 2nd quarter, staying on top at 70-67 in the 3rd quarter, and finally sealing the claim to victory at 84-83 in the 4th quarter.

While it was the three-time defending champion’s first loss since October 10, 2018, when they lost to Far Eastern University, the victory sweetens UP’s third straight return to the UAAP Final Four since its historic comeback from perennial cellar dweller to championship rival of Ateneo in Season 81.

The UP Fighting Maroons last won against the Ateneo Blue Eagles on October 8, 2016, in UAAP Season 79. Since then, Ateneo won all the games between the Quezon City-based universities, until the historic Sunday night.

The highly-anticipated Ateneo and UP rematch in the UAAP finals since the neighboring universities last faced off in 2018 had been looming as both ball clubs led the first round of eliminations with Ateneo ranked 1st and UP ranked 2nd.

After the close of the second elimination round on Sunday, Ateneo (13-1) and UP (12-2) remain in the 1-2 standings going into the final four of the semifinals.

The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers (9-5) in 3rd rank and Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws (7-7) in 4th rank join the top two teams in the final four teams in the UAAP Men’s Basketball semifinals to be played on Wednesday.

Ateneo and UP both enjoy the twice-to-beat advantage as they meet their challengers on May 4. One win for Ateneo and UP against their challengers in the first semifinal game would mean directly advancing to the finals.

“Winning against Ateneo siyempre is a big achievement for us,” said UP coach Goldwin Monteverde in the post-game huddle.

“One thing good for me kanina, yung team namin stayed as team no matter how close the game was,” Monteverde shared.

The “Battle of Katipunan” matchup between the Ateneo and UP has been documented in a book released by the Nowhere to Go But UP Foundation titled, “Nowhere To Go But UP (How a Basketball Team Inspired a Nation)” authored by sports journalist Naveen Ganglani.

The UAAP Season 84 Men’s Basketball games are free to watch on Cignal Play app, Smart Giga play app, and One Sports television.

Here is the UAAP Season 84 Men’s Basketball Semifinals and Final games schedule:

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Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.