UAAP Season 65 men's basketball tournament

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UAAP Season 65
Host school National University

Men's Finals 1 2 3 Wins
La Salle school colors De La Salle Green Archers 70 85 70 1
Ateneo school colors Ateneo Blue Eagles 72 77 77 2
Duration September 26 to October 5
Arena/s Araneta Coliseum
Finals MVP Larry Fonacier and Wesley Gonzales
Winning coach Joel Banal
Semifinalists UE school colors UE Red Warriors
UST school colors UST Growling Tigers
TV network/s Studio 23 and TFC
< Season 64 2002 Season 66 >

The UAAP Season 65 men's basketball tournament refers to the men's basketball tournament of UAAP Season 65 (2002–03 season) of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP). The tournament was hosted by National University. ABS-CBN covered the games on Studio 23.

Four-time defending champion De La Salle Green Archers were on their way on scoring a rare 14–0 sweep of the elimination round when they were stopped by the Ateneo Blue Eagles in their last game of eliminations. The UE Red Warriors won over the UST Growling Tigers on the elimination round finale to secure the #2 seed against Ateneo in the semifinals. UST were blown out by La Salle in their semifinals series, while Ateneo won twice against UE, the deciding game via last-second shot from Gec Chia, to face La Salle in the Finals, a rematch of the previous season's championship series. In Game 1, Ateneo upset the Green Archers, but La Salle tied the series on the next game. In the deciding Game 3, Ateneo pulled away late in the fourth quarter to win their first title since 1988.

Ateneo's Enrico Villanueva was named Most Valuable Player, while teammates Larry Fonacier and Wesley Gonzales were named co-MVPs of the Finals.

Elimination round[edit]

Qualified for semifinals with twice to beat advantage
Qualified for semifinals
La Salle school colors De La Salle Green Archers 13 1 .929 --
UE school colors UE Red Warriors 10 4 .714 3
Ateneo school colors Ateneo Blue Eagles 9 5 .643 4
UST school colors UST Growling Tigers 8 6 .571 5
FEU school colors FEU Tamaraws 6 8 .429 7
UP school colors UP Fighting Maroons 5 9 .357 8
Adamson school colors Adamson Falcons 3 11 .214 10
NU school colors NU Bulldogs 2 12 .143 11

Host team in boldface.

With a 14–0 sweep giving them a bye up to the best-of-3 finals, La Salle won their first thirteen games; their last game was against arch rival Ateneo. The two teams were locked 43–all when Wesley Gonzales, Rich Alvarez, Larry Fonacier and Andrew Cruz engineered a 21–3 run to put Ateneo up 64–46 with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. Alvarez scored on a slam dunk to give Ateneo the biggest lead of the game, 75–53 with 3:13 left. Ateneo's lead would be insurmountable as they prevented the sweep and moved to second place.[citation needed]

UE won over UST 76–69 to seize the #2 seed and the twice to beat advantage against Ateneo; UST will face La Salle in the other semifinal pairing.[citation needed]


#1 & #2 have twice-to-beat advantage
Best-of-three series
1  La Salle school colors La Salle 97    
4  UST school colors UST 84    
  1  La Salle school colors La Salle 70 85 70
  3  Ateneo school colors Ateneo 72 77 77
2  UE school colors UE 78 70
3  Ateneo school colors Ateneo 84 72  


La Salle–UST series[edit]

September 19
97–84 UST school colors UST Growling Tigers
La Salle wins series in one game

La Salle, led by Mark Cardona and BJ Manalo, opened a 30–14 lead in the first quarter and never relinquished the lead. The lead reached 26 points in the third quarter. The Tigers cut the lead to 59–72 with a 7–0 run at the start of the fourth quarter, and another time, this time with an 11-point lead with a 78–89 scoreline, but La Salle's lead was too big for the Tigers to overcome.[1]

UE–Ateneo series[edit]

Game 1[edit]

September 19
78–84 Ateneo school colors Ateneo Blue Eagles
Ateneo extends series

Ateneo defeated UE to extend their series to a deciding second game. While Most Valuable Player (MVP) candidate James Yap was limited only four points by the Ateneo defense, returning L.A. Tenorio (who was previously injured with a hand injury) led the decisive run that increased Ateneo's lead to 11 points to prevent their elimination.[1]

Game 2[edit]

September 22
70–72 Ateneo school colors Ateneo Blue Eagles
Ateneo wins series in two games

The deciding game would also go down to the wire; Gec Chia turned over the ball to UE, where James Yap converted at the other end to put the Red Warriors up, 70–68. Chia would later score to force the game's seventh and last deadlock with 35 seconds left. Yap missed a three-pointer on the ensuing possession, JR Estrada grabbed the rebound but failed to convert. With Ateneo now having the possession with 7.8 seconds remaining, L.A. Tenorio dribbled the entire length of the court to find his path blocked by two UE players. Off a pick from Enrico Villanueva, Chia scored a 15-foot jump shot to win the game for Ateneo and eliminate UE from contention.[citation needed]


Game 1[edit]

September 26
70–72 Ateneo school colors Ateneo Blue Eagles
Ateneo leads series 1–0

Ateneo kept pace with La Salle throughout much of the game, with the Green Archers leading by as much as eight and the Eagles giving up hairline leads. Late in the game, L.A. Tenorio missed both free-throws, but drew an offensive foul from Mike Cortez to give Ateneo the possession with 39.3 seconds left. Rich Alvarez missed consecutive shots, but Enrico Villanueva split his free-throws to put Ateneo up by two points with 9.2 seconds remaining. In the ensuing possession, Mark Cardona tried to shoot a jump shot but was blocked by Larry Fonacier. Cardona grabbed the rebound and tried to force a shot but Fonacier blocked him anew as time expired to give Ateneo a 1–0 series lead.[citation needed]

Game 2[edit]

September 29
85–77 Ateneo school colors Ateneo Blue Eagles
Series tied 1–1

After the first game, La Salle coach Franz Pumaren talked to Mike Cortez where he reminded him that as a veteran, he should lead by example to his teammates. La Salle started strongly, leading 50–32, capped off a slam dunk from Cortez off an Ateneo turnover. The Blue Eagles will cut the deficit to nine points at 64–55, but Cortez scored each time to prevent Ateneo from cutting the lead even further. With La Salle up 78–73, Fonacier scored on a put-back; Adonis Sta. Maria scored at the other end to restored the 5-point lead, with 65 seconds left. Enrico Villanueva scored via two free-throws, but Carlo Sharma scored two points also from the free-throw line. L.A. Tenorio drove hard to the basket but missed; Santa Maria was fouled on the rebound attempt. Santa Maria made both free-throws, Cortez caught the airball from Fonacier's three-pointer, was fouled, and split his free-throws to end the game. La Salle evened the series and forced a deciding games off Cortez' 21 points.[citation needed]

Game 3[edit]

October 5
70–77 Ateneo school colors Ateneo Blue Eagles
Ateneo wins series 2–1

Ateneo led for much of the game via small margins, when L.A. Tenorio made successive three-point shots and Wesley Gonzales made a lay-up to give Ateneo a 10-point 64–54 lead; the two players would later leave the game due to fouls for the former and cramps from the latter. Sonny Tadeo and Epok Quimpo scored on a 5-point run to add Ateneo's lead to eleven points with barely over two minutes left. Adonis Santa Maria narrowed the gap to 66–73 but Villanueva made it a 9-point lead after being fouled by Santa Maria during a rebound play off Fonacier's miss. Santa Maria and BJ Manalo scored a 4–0 run, but Fonacier scored on the free-throw line off a Cortez to foul to win the championship for Ateneo, their first since their consecutive title run from 1987 to 1988, and denying La Salle set a new record of 5-consecutive seniors titles in the Final Four era.[citation needed]

Broadcast notes[edit]

Game Play-by-play Analyst
Game 1 Mico Halili Randy Sacdalan
Game 2 Jude Turcuato Randy Sacdalan
Game 3 Mico Halili Randy Sacdalan


  1. ^ a b Mariano, Clyde (2002-09-19). "La Salle in finals; Ateneo forces rubber". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
Preceded by
Season 64 (2001)
UAAP men's basketball seasons
Season 65 (2003) basketball
Succeeded by
Season 66 (2003)