Tolentino takes over as Ateneo dodges collapse vs UST
MANILA, Philippines – The last time the Ateneo Blue Eagles faced the UST Growling Tigers, the boys in blue squandered a 16-point lead and wound up losing the game.
The next time both teams faced in the second round, Ateneo built a 17-point lead. And this time around, they made sure to hang on for the victory.
They have last year’s Rookie of the Year to thank for that.
Arvin Tolentino took over late in the fourth period, hitting big jumpers en route to tying his career-high with 20 points to lead his Blue Eagles past the Growling Tigers, 80-74, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Tolentino did most of his damage in the fourth period, where he scored 13 points and Ateneo lost Ravena after he twisted his ankle. The reigning UAAP MVP returned late in the game and hit a clutch layup to seal the victory.
The win improved Ateneo’s record to 6-4, while UST, who entered the contest with a 5-game winning streak, fell to 8-2 and will have to wait another game before getting to book a ticket to the UAAP Season 78 Final Four round.
“This is actually a very big win for us. It’s kind of traumatic for us. There were moments in the game where, personally, I was asking myself, ‘Is this a second run for them?,'" said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol.
Tolentino led all scorers with his career high and did a terrific job defending Kevin Ferrer, an MVP candidate this season, who scored 13 points but shot 1-of-11 from the field.
Von Pessumal helped out with 16 points, while Ravena finished with 11 points, 7 boards, and 5 dimes.
Ed Daquioag led UST with 19 points while rookie Marvin Lee finished with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Karim Abdul pitched in 12 points and 9 boards, but also went just 2-of-10 from the floor.
“We needed some maturity and I think we were able to get that a little bit. I think the key there is scoring from the bench,” said Perasol, who received 43 points from his reserves.
“What a way for Arvin to get out of his slump. He knows and I could see in his eyes he was confident.”
“Masaya, dahil last round diba talo kami sa UST?” Tolentino said post-game. “Malaki rin lamang namin. So, coming into this game, ang naisip ko talaga is defend, defend, defend.”
(I'm happy, because we lost to UST last round, right? We had a huge lead that game. Coming into this game, I just thought about defense, defense, defense.)
The Blue Eagles extended their edge to 17 following a Pessumal triple in the third quarter, but the Growling Tigers rallied by hitting a numbers of 3-pointers and at one point had trimmed the deficit to 3, 53-50.
Ateneo responded strong to end the quarter, and was ahead by 8, 60-52, entering the fourth period thanks to a Pessumal step-back.
Tolentino hit his first 3-ball in the fourth quarter with 7:40 left in the game, extending his club’s edge to 13. After Abdul nailed a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 11, Tolentino hit another triple with 6:37 left to extend the lead to 68-54.
Later with 5:15 to go, Tolentino hit a layup to make the count 70-57. A few players later, the second-year standout hit another 3 to extend his team’s lead 73-59.
Later with just 1:24 to go, Ravena converted on a layup to put the finishing touches, 77-67.
The Blue Eagles will be back in action against the NU Bulldogs on Sunday, October 25. UST will face UE on Wednesday, November 4, for their next game.
ADMU (80): Tolentino 20, Pessumal 16, Ravena 11, Black 9, Wong 6, Babilonia 5, Capacio 5, Gotladera 3, Ikeh 2, Nieto 2, Go 1, Cani 0
UST (74): Daquioag 19, Lee 15, Ferrer 13, Abdul 12, Lao 7, Sheriff 4, Vigil 4, Bonleon 0, Faundo 0, Garrido 0, Subido 0
Quarter scores: 21-12, 41-28, 60-52, 80-74 – Rappler.com