UAAP Final Four
The UAAP Final Four refers to the postseasons of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) tournaments. The term "final four" came from the National Collegiate Athletic Association of the United States' men's Division I basketball tournament which is colloquially called as the "final four".
The Final Four in which the four teams (out of eight) with the best records qualify for the postseason playoff games was instituted in Season 56 (1993–94). Previously the postseason was a championship series between the top two teams, with the #1 seeded team holding the twice to beat advantage, i.e., they have to win only once to clinch the championship. The #2 team has to win twice.
The tournament is now conducted in three stages with the institution of the Final Four playoffs:
- The two-round eliminations, where a team plays the other teams twice. The four teams with the worst records are eliminated.
- The semifinals, wherein the #1 seeded team plays the 4th seeded team and the #2 seeded team plays the 3rd seeded team. Both #1 and #2 seeded teams possess the twice to beat advantage, while the #3 and #4 teams have to win twice.
- The finals, which is a best of three series.
On the first year of the implementation of the Final Four playoffs, the University of Santo Tomas swept the elimination round, and following the then existing rules, the Glowing Goldies were awarded the championship outright. After that season, the UAAP revised the rule so that the team that sweeps the elimination round will instead advance to the best-of-3 Finals automatically. While the #2 team will have the twice to beat advantage in the semifinals where it awaits the winner of the game between the #3 and #4 teams.
The revised postseason format was implemented in Season 57 (1994–95) but it was not until Season 70 (2007–08) that a team swept the elimination rounds. The University of the East was the first to accomplish this feat under the new format, causing the sweep clause to be used. UE thus automatically advanced to the Finals but this reward became a bane as the Red Warriors had to wait for 21 days before the championship series can be started due to several factors, namely, the unavailability of the playing venue (Araneta Coliseum), two tie-breaker games and two semifinal games. The Red Warriors became rusty, so to speak, causing them to lose the championship series 2–0 against La Salle (their last elimination round opponent). As a result, the Policy Board formulated the "bonus rule" in which the team that sweeps the elimination rounds will qualify for the Finals outright and will have a thrice-to-beat advantage. This means that the number 1 seeded team will only need to win twice; the other finalist needs to win thrice, thus giving the sweeper a 1–0 lead in a virtual best-of-five.
Ties among the semifinalists were broken by an extra game, irrespective of the seedings. Ergo, in a tie for the 2nd seed, the game that will be used to break the tie serves as a de facto game one of a best-of-three series. If two teams are tied for the fourth seed, the game that will be used to break the tie serves as a knockout game between the two. If three or more teams are tied, the team with the best points difference gets a bye to the final tie-breaker game against the winner/s of the teams with the lower points difference. In Season 72 (2009–10), the league introduced the "common sense" rule in determining seedings for the playoffs in case of ties. This means not all ties in the semifinals will be broken by a one-game playoff. Only ties for second and fourth are broken by an extra game. Ties for first and third are broken by the points difference of the tied teams. Starting Season 79, however, the thrice-to-beat advantage for the top-seeded team (for cases of the double elimination round sweep) has been removed, but the stepladder semifinals format (second-seeded team still with the twice-to-beat advantage against the 2 lower-seeded teams in the Final Four) and the automatic Finals slot incentive for the top-seeded team remains.
- Regular Final Four Round - If no team sweeps the elimination round:
- Seeds #1 and #2 teams possess the twice-to-beat advantage
- Team #1 meets #4 while #2 meets #3 in the semifinals.
- The semifinal winners advance to the Finals.
- The team that wins 2 games in the Finals wins the championship.
- Stepladder Final Four Format - If a team sweeps the elimination round:
- Seed #1 advance to the Finals.
- Seed #2 advance to the semifinals with the twice-to-beat advantage.
- Teams #3 and #4 face off to meet #2 in the semifinals in a one-game playoff.
- In the finals, either the #1 seed or the other opponent has to win only twice. From 2007 to 2016, seed #1 earned a thrice-to-beat advantage (or a 1−0 incentive lead in a best-of-five Finals series). The #1 seed only had to win twice, while the other opponent had to win thrice.
- In case of two teams being tied, an extra game will be played to determine which seed they will possess.
- In case of three or more teams being tied, the team with the best head-to-head record usually possesses the best seeding, while the other teams will play an extra game to determine the second-best seeding,
Television and radioEdit
The Final Four is heavily covered by the media. With the UAAP as one of the leading collegiate leagues in the country, the Final Four games are broadcast live throughout the country.
Beginning year 2000, the UAAP Finals and the Final Four games, were broadcast by ABS-CBN's UHF channel Studio 23 nationwide and produced by ABS-CBN Sports. Prior to Studio 23, the games were broadcast by Silverstar Sports on the state-controlled People's Television VHF channel 4. Since July 2009, the UAAP is also aired in high definition through cable channel Balls, via their channel Balls HD. Upon signing a new contract at the conclusion of UAAP Season 72 in October 2009, the Finals will be aired through VHF television channel ABS-CBN 2, beginning in 2010 and renewed again in October 2013 at the conclusion of UAAP Season 76.
Prior to 2001, the games were also aired live on DZSR Sports Radio 918-AM; after ABS-CBN's takeover of broadcast rights, its Manila FM station 101.9 For Life! aired updates during and after the games, but not blow-by-blow coverages. In 2010, radio coverage of the games were aired on DZRJ-AM 810.
- Number of appearance excludes 4th seed elimination games.
|Semifinalist, lost with twice to beat advantage|
|Semifinalist, lost with twice to win disadvantage|
|Lost in 4th-seed playoff|
|Not in the league|
|1||Elimination round ranking|
|Game was forfeited.|
- Number denotes playoff seeding.
- Shade denotes final position.
- *arranged by number of wins
- *arranged by number of wins
- Most lopsided game: La Salle 72–47 FEU, 1998 Game 1 (25 points)
- Closest game: Several games, all one-point leads:
- UST 73–72 La Salle, 2013 Game 1
- La Salle 64–63 UE, 2007 Game 1
- Ateneo 73–72 UST, 2006 Game 1
- FEU 65–64 La Salle, 1997 Game 2 (championship clincher)
- UST 77–76 La Salle, 1994 Game 3
- Finals appearances: La Salle, 16
- Consecutive finals appearances: La Salle, 9 (1994–2002)
- Championships: Ateneo (2002, 2008–12, 2017–19), 9; La Salle (1998–2001, 2007, 2013, 2016), 7; UST (1993–96, 2006; including UST's 1993 sweep), FEU (1997, 2003–05, 2015), 5
Note: FEU was awarded the 2004 championship title due to La Salle's fielding of ineligible players from 2003 to 2005 thus forfeiting their wins and revoking La Salle's final team standings from those seasons.
- Consecutive championships: Ateneo (2008–12), 5; UST (1993–96), and La Salle (1998–2001), 4; FEU (2003–05), and Ateneo (2017–19), 3.
- As of 2019, the winner of Game 1 won the championship 19 times out of 26 (72%).
- Most lopsided game: La Salle vs NU, 111–85, 2001 (26 points)
- Closest game: Several games, all one-point wins.
- UP 70–69 FEU, 1997 Game 1 (1 point)
- FEU 70–69 UP, 1997 Game 2 (1 point)
- UST 75–74 Ateneo, 1999 (1 point)
- FEU 61–60 Ateneo, 2000 Game 1 (1 point)
- UST 82–81 UE, 2006 Game 2 (1 point)
- Ateneo 65–64 La Salle, 2007 Game 1 (1 point)
- FEU 62–61 Ateneo, 2016 Game 1 (1 point)
- Ateneo 69–68 FEU (OT), 2016 Game 2 (1 point)
- Semifinal appearances:FEU, (1994–95, 1997-2001, 2003–05, 2008–11, 2013–19), 21, La Salle, (1994-2005, 2007–08, 2010, 2012–14, 2016–17), 20, Ateneo, (1999-2012, 2014–19), 20
- Consecutive semifinal appearances: Ateneo (1999–2012), 14
Most frequent matchupsEdit
The most frequently played matchups are:
|FEU vs. La Salle||6||5||11|
|Ateneo vs. La Salle||5||5||10|
|Ateneo vs. FEU||6||3||9|
|La Salle vs. UST||4||5||9|
|Ateneo vs. UST||4||3||7|
|FEU vs. UE||5||0||5|
|Ateneo vs. UE||2||1||3|
|La Salle vs. UE||2||1||3|
|FEU vs. UST||2||1||3|
|UST vs. NU||3||0||3|
|Ateneo vs. Adamson||2||0||2|
|La Salle vs. Adamson||2||0||2|
|UE vs. UST||2||0||2|
|UP vs. UST||2||0||2|
In the 26 tournaments the Final Four format has been applied, the higher seed has beaten the lower seeds in the semifinals due to their twice to beat advantage, for the most part:
- The #1 seed has beaten the #4 seed in 22 out of the 24 times (92%).
- The #2 seed has beaten the #3 seed 17 out of 25 times (68%).
- The #2 seed has beaten the #3 seed 13 times on the first game (76%).
- The #2 seed has beaten the #3 seed 4 times on the second game (24%).
- Out of the 8 times the #2 seed was beaten, the #2 seed was UE thrice (38%) and Adamson twice (25%).
- The #4 seed has beaten the #2 seed 1 out of 1 times (100%).
- The only time the #2 seed was beaten by the #4 seed was during the UST-UP matchup in Season 82 (UST won) due to the stepladder format.
- The #3 seed has beaten the #4 seed 1 out of 2 times (50%).
- With UE sweeping the elimination round, there were two semifinal rounds for 2007.
- With Ateneo sweeping the elimination round, there were two semifinal rounds for 2019.
- The #1 seed skipped the semifinals twice (8%; in 2007, when UE swept the elimination round, and in 2019, when Ateneo swept the elimination round)
A victory of the #3 seed in a series is considered a big upset considering that the #3 seed has to win twice, not to mention the perceived superiority of the #2 seed when compared to the #3 seed.
In the finals, the advantage of the #1 seed isn't as pronounced since the competing teams have to win the same number of games:
- The #1 seed has beaten the #2 seed 10 of 15 times (66%)
- The #1 seed has beaten the #3 seed 5 of 8 times (63%)
- The #1 seed has beaten the #4 seed 1 of 1 times (100%)
- The #2 seed has beaten the #1 seed 5 of 15 times (33%)
- The #2 seed has beaten the #4 seed 1 of 2 times (50%)
- The #3 seed has beaten the #1 seed 3 of 8 times (38%)
- The #4 seed has beaten the #2 seed 1 of 2 times (50%)
- The #1 seed has won the championship 16 of 26 times (63%)
Individual single-game recordsEdit
Stats since the 2001 season.
|Most points||Thirdy Ravena||38||Ateneo||UP||2018 Finals|
|Most rebounds||Raymar Jose
|Most assists||Macky Escalona
|Most steals||Elmer Espiritu
|Most blocks||Nonoy Baclao||7||Ateneo||La Salle||2008 Finals|
*game went into overtime.
- Jasmine Payo (September 14, 2007). "UE completes 14-0, but barely". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on September 15, 2007.
- Jasmine Payo (June 28, 2008). "Additional incentive for UAAP sweep". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2008.
- Villar, Joey (June 13, 2009). "UAAP okays rules on tiebreak, instant replay". The Philippine Star. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2009.