MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Blue Eagles continued their dominant run in UAAP Season 82 with a 66-52 win over the UST Growling Tigers at the start of the men’s basketball second round at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, October 5.
Unlike in their narrow win in the first round, the Blue Eagles posted a decisive triumph this time to complete a sweep of the Tigers.
The two-time defending champions leaned on a balanced effort led by Thirdy Ravena as they rose to 8-0. UST, meanwhile, teetered close to the logjam at 4th to 7th place as they slid to 4-4.
In the first round, the Tigers gave the Blue Eagles a scare before Ateneo pulled off a 71-70 escape.
Ravena led the wire-to-wire win with 17 points and 9 rebounds albeit with 8 turnovers while SJ Belangel added 11 markers and 4 boards.
Mark Nonoy paced UST in the loss with 18 points off the bench as leading MVP candidate Soulemane Chabi Yo was limited to a season-low 6 points on a 2-of-11 clip.
“All I can say is thank God for our defense,” ssaid Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin.
“That was a really tough, really physical game, too physical than the way it should be. They really make your life miserable and in the 4th quarter, they started making their shots.”
Off an ice-cold first half, UST regained its touch in the 3rd as they closed the gap to 7, 42-35, off a late Nonoy triple.
Chabi Yo then got them as near as 5, 37-42, to begin the 4th off a short stab inside.
However, championship poise again worked wonders for the Blue Eagles as they responded with an 8-0 run to go up 13, 50-37, ending with a Ravena layup at the 7:14 mark.
Undeterred, the young Tigers still clawed their way back to 6, 48-54, after a Nonoy triple with 3:56 left to cap off an 11-4 response.
But Nonoy then fumbled a pass in the post near the three-minute mark that resulted in a Ravena layup at the other end for the nine-point lead, 59-50.
Belangel then drove home the dagger trey, 62-50, with 1:23 left to send UST to its second straight loss.
Ateneo 66 – Ravena 17, Belangel 11, Go 8, Ma. Nieto 6, Wong 6, Tio 5, Mi. Nieto 4, Navarro 3, Daves 2, Kouame 2, Mamuyac 2, Maagdenberg 0.
UST 52 – Nonoy 18, Abando 7, Bataller 6, Chabi Yo 6, Concepcion 6, Subido 5, Ando 2, Cansino 2, Bordeos 0, Huang 0, Paraiso 0.
Quarters: 10-8, 26-17, 42-35, 66-52.