FAR EASTERN University-Diliman pulled away in the second period to beat Adamson, 78-65, and forge a championship showdown with undefeated Nazareth School of National University in the UAAP high school boys basketball yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Penny Estacio dropped 13 of his 18 points in the first half to lead the Baby Tamaraws breakaway on their way to a 43-31 halftime lead.
Playing its first game since Feb. 5, second-ranked FEU hardly showed the effects of a long lay-off.
"Para sa akin, discipline, yun ang nire-remind sa amin ng mga coaches," said Estacio, who ably filled the void left by RJ Abarrientos.
Making their first Finals stint in three years, the Baby Tamaraws hope to burst the Bullpups' bubble in the best-of-three series starting Friday at the San Juan arena.
NSNU jumped straight to the title round after going 14-0 in the eliminations.
"Masaya at nakabalik kami ng despite na 11 players ang nag-graduate last year," said FEU mentor Allan Albano.
"Nagawa yung gameplan namin na ma-stop si (Jake) Figueroa and (John) Erolon. Nagpasalamat ako sa mga bata at ginawa ang homework nila," he added.
Soon-to-be named season MVP Figueroa could only tally 11 points and seven rebounds after averaging 20.5 points and 21.5 rebounds in the last two games, while Erolon went 1-of-12 from the field to finish with only seven points.
Mark Padrones and Jorick Bautista added 14 and 11 points, respectively, for the Baby Tamaraws.
Meanwhile, high school standout Bismarck Lina, following the lead of his first cousin Kevin Ferrer, will remain in University of Santo Tomas to play for coach Aldin Ayo.
Lina, who secured his commitment in a dinner with Ayo and school officials Thursday night, capped his Tiger Cubs career by completing seven straight double-doubles.
Over the last two years, UST has also retained its top high school stars in CJ Cansino and Mark Nonoy to give life to its men's basketball program.
FEU (78) -- Estacio 18, Padrones 14, Bautista 11, Anonuevo 9, Pasaol 8, Bagunu 6, Sleat 6, Saldua 5, Libago 1, Remogat 0.
AdU (65) -- Barcelona 12, Figueroa 11, Quinal 10, Abdulla 8, Erolon 7, Guarino 5, Cosal 4, Dominguez 4, Hanapi 4.
Quarterscores: 24-17, 43-31, 62-51, 78-65