Ateneo scores big win over UST
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) -- It was a start great enough to make up for a sloppy finish.
Ateneo de Manila University buried University of Santo Tomas into a deep hole early and held on for a 61-57 victory in the 76th UAAP men's basketball tournament on Saturday, July 27 at the packed Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With their 6-peat bid off on shaky footing, the Blue Eagles stepped on the gas pedal from the get-go and built a 21-6 cushion at the onset of the second quarter.
But Ateneo's attack went sour from there as they went on to make just 12 of 45 shots (26.7%) after the Vince Tolentino basket that put them up by 15 points.
The Growling Tigers, however, failed to capitalize, registering turnover after turnover that helped douse whatever rally they tried to make.
"I could not imagine the mindset of this team coming into the long break if we had lost this game," said Eagles coach Bo Perasol. "It's really tough going up against a team like UST."
From sizzling to freezing
Ateneo star guard Kiefer Ravena led the Blue and White in rushing out of the gates, outscoring the entire Tiger pack in the first quarter with breakaway layups and a long-range connection.
The Eagles led 19-6 after the first 10 minutes, but Ateneo obviously didn't see that they were in for a cold shooting night.
Von Pessumal missed 3 straight attempts in a span of 35 seconds to open the second period before NIco Elorde found Tolentino for a basket with 8:43 left.
Ateneo, though, missed 8 of its next 9 shots as UST rallied to close the gap behind Aljon Mariano, who had 8 points in the second period.
Five straight points from Ravena and Chris Newsome restored an 11-point lead for the Eagles early in the third quarter at 32-21 before the Tigers came charging back to close in at 34-28 off another Mariano basket.
A quick 5-1 burst by Ateneo brought it back to 11 points then Newsome made a free-throw shot to gave the Eagles their biggest lead of the second half at 43-31.
Ryan Buenafe came alive in the final canto to keep UST at bay, scoring 7 of his 9 points in the period.
But Clark Bautista and Ed Daquioag combined for 15 points in the fourth quarter as the Tigers threatened for the last time at 60-57 off a Bautista 3-pointer.
UST, though, ran out of time as Ravena sealed the win by splitting his charities with 5.7 seconds remaining on the clock.
The Phenom is back
Ravena led Ateneo with 13 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals, Newsome added 10 points, 9 boards and 2 steals, and Buenafe posted 9 markers, 6 rebounds and 4 assists for the Eagles.
"As long as we get the win, kahit one, two or 20 points okay lang," Ravena said. "This was a good test for us."
The Katipunan-based crew ended their first round campaign winning 3 of their last 4 games for a 3-4 record while their victims fell to 4-3.
Mariano paced the Tigers with 16 points and 9 rebounds even as Daquioag and Bautista teamed up to finish with 23 points, 15 boards and 4 assists. - Rappler.com