Ateneo Blue Eagles are UAAP Season 80 champions
MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The Ateneo Blue Eagles bested the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers in the best-of-three UAAP Season 80 finals series, 88-86, on Sunday, December 3, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Blue Eagles finally took the crown back to Katipunan 5 years since their historic 5-peat domination. The Green Archers failed to defend their Season 79 title to settle for 1st runner-up honors.
Again, it was a clutch triple by Ateneo's Isaac Go which ensured the win, 85-80, in the closing 24.7 seconds.
Thirdy Ravena was awarded finals MVP as he led the Blue Eagles with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Matt Nieto followed with 14 points and went a perfect 6-of-6 from the stripe.
Graduating center Chibueze Ikeh registered a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds to end his basketball career in the UAAP. Anton Asistio also scored for the Blue Eagles in double digits with 11, all of his field goals coming from the 3-point range.
Ben Mbala dropped a double-double of 19 points and 14 points to topscore for the Green Archers. Aljun Melecio (16), Ricci Rivero (14), Andrei Caracut (13), and Santi Santillan (11) scored double digits to fuel the balanced scoring effort of DLSU.
The Blue Eagles had a strong start, pulling away with a 10-point lead at the end of the first quarter (24-14).
As the Green Archers put Mbala back into the rotation, the back-to-back UAAP MVP drew first blood in the second period with a solo 6-1 run. DLSU continued to cut the deficit until Ricci Rivero finally tied the score at 25-all with 5:58 left in the first half.
Both teams continued to trade leads until Ravena won back the lead for Ateneo. The Blue Eagles went on an 8-0 run to close out the first half, punctuated by Asistio's buzzer-beating triple.
As the game headed into the final frame tied at 66-all, both teams battled fiercely for the lead.
Mbala drew first blood with a bank shot, before Vince Tolentino answered back with one of his own that tied the game at 68-all. The Blue Eagles sparked a 10-0 run led by back-to-back triples from Matt Nieto and Asistio.
Ateneo built a 10-point lead, 80-70, 3:33 left in the game.
This match was the final one in the UAAP careers of Blue Eagles Ikeh, Tolentino, and Kris Porter.
Ateneo (88) – Ravena 17, Matt Nieto 14, Ikeh 12, Asistio 11, Tolentino 9, Go 7, Verano 6, Mendoza 5, Black 4, Mamuyac 3, Mike Nieto 0.
DLSU (86) – Mbala 19, Melecio 16, Ricci Rivero 14, Caracut 13, Santillan 11, Tratter 4, Go 3, Montalbo 3, Prince Rivero 2, Tero 1, Baltazar 0.
Quarter Scores: 24-14, 45-38, 66-66, 88-86.