MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles managed to escape the Letran Knights, 55-51 in a closely-fought contest on opening day of the 2012 Filoil Flying V Preseason Hanes Cup at the Arena in San Juan.
Minus their head coach Norman Black who had to attend to his commitments with Talk ‘N Text in the PBA, assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga manned the sidelines. He said, “The boys are a bit rusty but we’re happy to open up the preseason with a win against a tough opponent like Letran.”
With a relatively intact lineup from their last UAAP campaign, the Blue Eagles had incoming sophomore Greg Slaughter lead the way for the Katipunan five with 14 points and 15 boards. This was followed closely by reigning UAAP Rookie of the Year Kiefer Ravena’s 13 markers.
Ateneo had control of the game in the first half not until Jam Cortes, Mark Cruz and Kevin Racal exploded in the third for the Knights. Their collective efforts put Letran back in the running within three, 45-42 at the end of 30 minutes of action.
Carlo Lituania’s booming connection from beyond the arc tied the count at 49-all in the payoff period with 5 minutes left. Ravena quickly answered with his own trey for another 52-49 lead for the Eagles.
Racal sank a long 2 in the ensuing play, putting the Knights within one, 51-52 with 3:57 left but the Eagles, behind the end game heroics of their super duo in Slaughter and Ravena iced the game to their favor at the buzzer after canning 3 from the stripe.
San Beda wins
In the main game, NCAA’s back-to-back champion San Beda shut down the De La Salle Green Archers, 69-63 for their version of an opening day victory.
Ronnie Magsanoc, a product of the San Beda High School basketball program debuted with a win across his name. Magsanoc, who played college ball for the UP Fighting Maroons in the UAAP replaced Frankie Lim, who tendered his resignation just this month.
DLSU’s Gee Abanilla also made his debuted as head tactician of the Archers after taking over the chores left by Dindo Pumaren.
After a 4-0 start by the Archers, the Red Lions started to warm up and took over the driver’s seat towards the end of the first canto.
With the entire game to their favor, the Red Lions enjoyed their biggest spread at 17, 51-34 at the start of the 4th after Nigerian Ola Adeogun banked in a short jumper at the 9:49 mark.
The Archers made a rally in the twilight zone but time was not on their side as the Red Lions settled for a 6 point victory at the buzzer.
In the nightcap, the National University Bulldogs prevented the rebuilding JRU Heavy Bombers from detonating via a 99-48 rout.
NU’s biggest lead stood at 47, 83-36 at the end of the 3rd period.
Ateneo (55) — Slaughter 14, Ravena 13, Gonzaga 7, Tiongson 4, Chua 4, Elorde 2, Erram 2, Salva 2, Capacio 2, Porter 2, Golla 1, Sumalinog 1, Buenafe 1, Pessumal 0, Babilonia 0.
Letran (51) — Cortes 15, Racal 10, Cruz 10, Lituania 8, Gabriel 6, Gabawan 2, Belorio 0, J. Alas 0, Pantin 0, Luib 0, K. Alas 0, Cudal 0.
Quarter Scores: 16-12, 31-21, 45-42, 55-51 – Rappler.com