Ateneo has turned from a struggling defending champion to a dangerous contender yet again.
A sizzling Ateneo squad broke loose early and the Blue Eagles went on to overwhelm the Far Eastern Tamaraws, 92-73, for their fifth straight victory in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament yesterday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Juami Tiongson and Kiefer Ravena fueled a dominant start where the Eagles shot nearly 60 percent from the field in the first half and built a 23-point spread, 51-28, at the break.
The surprise blowout win pushed Ateneo to a share of third with arch rival La Salle at 6-4, a huge turnaround from a 0-3 start in its bid for a sixth straight crown.
“The kind of winning mentality that Ateneo had in previous years is coming into play now,” said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol. “I believe that’s what’s happening, and of course, there’s our emphasis on making stops.”
In the second game, University of Santo Tomas arrested a three-game slide with an 80-67 blasting of Adamson.
Karim Abdul collected 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks while Ed Daquioag and Aljon Mariano sparked the Tigers’ pivotal fourth-quarter breakaway.
“This season has been disappointing because we have so many injuries,” said coach Pido Jarencio as his Tigers remained in sixth place with a 5-5 record.
UST top gunner Jeric Teng, who sat out anew due to a latest injury on his hamstring, had been listed as “day-to-day.”
Tiongson drilled 20 points built on a 7-of-10 shooting clip and Ravena added 18 points, nine boards and five assists to lead the Eagles, who spoiled the Tamaraws’ bid to secure at least a playoff for a Final Four slot.
“The significance of this win is that now we’re in the top four,” said Perasol, who still called the shots despite a recent kidney stone surgery.
ATENEO 92—Tiongson 20, Ravena 18, Newsome 11, Tolentino 9, Golla 9, Buenafe 9, Pessumal 5, Elorde 5, Capacio 4, Erram 2, Murphy 0, Enriquez 0, Asuncion 0, Asistio 0.
FEU 73—Romeo 19, Garcia 11, Tolomia 9, Pogoy 9, Hargrove 6, Belo 6, Jose 5, Iñigo 3, Cruz 3, Lee Yu 2, Sentcheu 0, Mendoza 0, Luz 0, Dennison 0, Delfinado 0, Aguilon 0.
Quarters: 26-11, 51-28, 73-45, 92-73
UST 80—Abdul 19, Daquioag 17, Mariano 16, Lo 8, Ferrer 8, Bautista 6, Sheriff 4, Hainga 2, Pe 0.
ADAMSON 67—Brondial 15, Cruz 13, Trollano 12, Rios 12, Sewa 6, Cabrera 5, Monteclaro 2, Iñigo 2, Petilos 0, Julkipli 0, Agustin 0, Abrigo 0.
Quarters: 15-18, 31-30, 51-47, 80-67