Ateneo wins, maintains supremacy over La Salle

The country's fiercest collegiate rivalry resumes, with the Ateneo Blue Eagles beating the De La Salle Green Archers 71-61

Ateneo's Greg Slaughter paced the Blue Eagles with 20 points. Photo by Josh Albelda.

MANILA, Philippines – Jeron Teng paced along the sideline in vain. Everywhere he looked he found a blue shirt instead of his friendly green. After 5 seconds, the ball remained in his hands and it was evident to everyone in the SM Mall of Asia Arena that the game was over.

The country’s fiercest collegiate rivalry resumed on Saturday, July 28, with the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles holding back the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers, 71-61, in a thriller of a match typified by runs and comebacks.

Up by just 4 at 64-60 with 2:06 left in the game, the Eagles tried to salvage what remained of their lead by attacking a La Salle squad already in the penalty. Soon, Ateneo found themselves up precariously, 66 to 61.

Coach Norman Black’s energizer bunny, Tonino Gonzaga, grabbed a crucial offensive rebound and followed up with a steal in the backcourt which led to yet another Blue Eagle heading to the line.

After a timeout, La Salle’s prized rookie stepped up to the plate and tasted Ateneo’s famed defense first hand. The Blue Eagles’ ball denial was impeccable and, not long after, the 4-time defending champions were awarded ball possession with a little over 40 seconds left in play.

The boys from Taft wouldn’t score after that, and the game ended on formality free throws, 71-61.

A stunner of a defeat at the hands of UST have given the Blue Eagles a renewed ferocity, winning their last two games in rather convincing fashion. From the opening tip, they stamped their dominance.

A Jed Manguera triple put the Archers up 5-4 early in the first, but the Eagles would fight back and easily snatch the lead via pesky defense and a relentless fastbreak attack. Kiefer Ravena had three fastbreak lay-ins in the quarter as the Ateneo guards forced their counterparts into an even 3 turnovers.

Though Greg Slaughter was double-teamed whenever he caught the ball, the laceration of La Salle’s passing lanes resulted in numerous instances of miscommunication on court. Ateneo closed the quarter on a 16-3 run to lead 20-8.

Justin Chua’s versatility around the key, coupled with careless ball-handling from De La Salle’s Almond Vosotros, allowed the Eagles to increase their advantage to 16, the largest in the game, at 26-10.

Led by LA Revilla and Luigi Dela Paz the Archers would storm back, answering with an 11-2 run of their own. Sloppy passes by the blue side were converted into easy layups and frequent trips to the charity stripe, as the La Salle wingmen refused to settle with outside jumpers.

The Archers got to within 5, 31-26, before a pair of Ryan Buenafe free throws and a buzzer-beating Slaughter tip-in padded the lead to 9 at the break.

Good team rebounding and man-on-man defense eventually gave La Salle its first taste of the lead in more than 20 minutes at 45-44 after a Dela Paz 3-point play right under the goal. For the first time all afternoon, the defending champions looked vulnerable.

It was then that Ravena took it upon himself to stop the bleeding. Guarded by the lankier Dela Paz, the former Blue Eaglet converted on side-steps and bursts to the basket, snatching the lead back, 53-50, by the end of the third canto.

In similar fashion, Revilla would take advantage of his matchup against Ateneo’s Juami Tiongson. Much quicker and more battle-tested, the La Sallian court general entered the paint at will, sometimes knocking a short jumper, other times setting up Teng and Norbert Torres for point-blank buckets.

Soon, Revilla’s mastery at the point led to another Manguera elbow 3. Down 64-60, and with a little over two minutes in regulation, Coach Gee Abanilla’s boys just couldn’t sustain the momentum.

Slaughter had 20 points and 7 rebounds while the duo of Ravena and Salva combined for 32 points on 12 of 22 shooting. Starring for the Green and White were Revilla and Teng with 16 and 13 markers, respectively. The Archer point guard also grabbed 5 boards and dished out 7 assists.

With the win, the Katipunan-based squad has triumphed over La Salle in 10 of their last 11 UAAP games.

Ateneo grabbed solo second at 3-1 while La Salle drops to third, with two wins and two losses. –


ADMU, 71: Slaughter – 20, Salva – 16, Ravena – 16, Chua – 6, Tiongson – 4, Elorde – 3, Buenafe – 3, Pessumal – 2, Erram – 1, Sumalinog – 0, Gonzaga – 0

DLSU, 61: Revilla – 16, Teng – 13, Torres – 11, Dela Paz – 7, Manguera – 6, Van Opstal – 2, Andrada – 2, Webb – 2, Mendoza – 1, Tampus – 1, Paredes – 0, Vosotros – 0, Torres – 0, Gotladera – 0, Tallo – 0

Quarter scores: 20-8, 35-26, 53-50, 71-61