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Falcons live to fight another game

MANILA, Philippines — With a game-winning three-pointer from Matthew Montebon, Adamson pulled off an epic 63-61 win over also-ran but feisty University of the East to stay in the Final Four race in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament yesterday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Montebon drained the game-winner in the last 2.7 seconds as the Falcons soared to 7-7 at the end of the elimination round to catch reigning champion Ateneo and force a knockout match for the fourth and last semifinal ticket.

The playoff duel is set Wednesday with the survivor completing the Final Four cast along with University of the Philippines, La Salle and National U.

Montebon, a Fil-Am rookie, fired four triples for 16 points, seven rebounds and two assists while Ced Manzano harvested a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds to spearhead the Falcons’ flight.

Vince Magbuhos (10) and Didat Hanapi (5) chipped in key contributions down the stretch as Adamson needed every star to align since the Ateneo-La Salle match Saturday to gain a shot at the Final Four.

Adamson gained a lift from La Salle (11-3) first after its 72-69 win over Ateneo that dealt the latter its seventh loss and opened a window of opportunity for Adamson against the ever-dangerous UE.

“La Salle took care of the first business and we have to take care of the second. We almost did not do that. Muntik na but yeah, we’re here and that’s all we want – to get a crack in the Final Four,” said coach Nash Racela.

Later, the troika of Francis Lopez (13), Malick Diouf (11) and CJ Cansino (11) joined hands as UP smothered National U, 79-57, to claim its first No. 1 seed finish ever with a 12-2 record.

UP raced to a 10-0 start and never looked back for the big win that in the process cleared the way for La Salle (11-3) to clinch the No. 2 seed.