Ateneo holds on late to defeat defending champion FEU
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Ateneo Blue Eagles staved off a late rally by defending champions FEU Tamaraws to come away with a 76-71 victory in the UAAP Season 79 men's basketball tournament on Wednesday, September 14, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Eagles, who blew an early 23-10 advantage, converted clutch baskets in the final two minutes to break off a 66-all deadlock courtesy of Richard Escoto with 2:15 left to play.
Thirdy Ravena knocked down two of his 17 points while Anton Asistio completed a 3-point play for a deciding 5-point swing that gave Ateneo a 71-66 advantage with still 1:22 to go.
"Going into the game we knew we're up against a tough FEU. They're a very good rebounding team and they're a very good defensive team who forces a lot of turnovers," said head coach Sandy Arespacochaga.
"We still got out rebounded (48-42) but we really played to get those rebounds. Everybody had a certain effort in boxing out and getting those rebounds."
Adrian Wong had 13 points while Jolo Mendoza added 10 markers on two-for-two shooting from downtown. Mike Nieto came up with 9 points and 11 rebounds as Chi Ikeh added 8 points and 7 boards.
"We gave our effort," Ravena said in Filipino. "This game is about who wants it more. FEU is not a big team, they have a really big heart, they give it 100% every possession."
The Tamaraws had Wendell Comboy exploding for 16 points in the first half to wind up with a game-high 20 on 7-of-13 field goals plus 6 rebounds and two assists.
Raymar Jose had a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, with 6 on the offensive glass, while Prinze Orizu likewise had 16 markers along with 16 boards.
Ateneo improved to a 2-1 record while FEU fell to 1-2. – Rappler.com