MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Ateneo Blue Eagles sealed their spot on top of the standings by defeating archrivals De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers, 76-75, on Sunday, October 8 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Eagles are undefeated with a 7-0 record, while the Green Archers fall to a 5-2 record in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament.
The Green Archers threatened the Blue Eagles with a second half comeback that saw the game tie in the fourth quarter. Both teams traded leads as the game entered into a free throw shootout, but Matt Nieto made both his charities with 3.9 seconds remaining to take the lead and the win.
The Ateneo Blue Eagles started strong with 6 first quarter triples, with 3 coming from starting guard Anton Asistio.
Entering the second quarter with an 8-point lead, the cushion expanded to 15 points via a 7-2 run capped off by a Mike Nieto reverse layup. The pace picked up in the last minutes of the second period as the Green Archers countered with a 10-2 run of their own.
The Green Archers’ mayhem prevailed in dying seconds of third period as they ran out the Blue Eagles and ended the quarter with Ben Mbala’s athletic tip in and Jollo Go’s clutch triple.
Matt Nieto kept his composure throughout the game and led the Blue Eagles with 16 points, 4 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Asistio added 14 points, which were from 4 triples and one midrange jumper.
Ricci Rivero topscored for the Green Archers by banking in 19 points while making 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Mbala followed with a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Ateneo (76) – Matt Nieto 16, Asistio 14, Mendoza 10, Ravena 9, Verano 6, Go 4, Tolentino 4, Mike Nieto 4, Black 4, Mamuyac 3, Ikeh 2.
DLSU (75) – Rivero R 19, Mbala 18, Go 11, Rivero P 8, Caracut 5, Paraiso 5, Tratter 4, Montalbo 3, Santillian 2, Gonzales 0.
Quarter Scores: 28-16, 43-36, 63-62, 76-75