Ateneo, San Beda prevail over foes on FilOil Flying V opening dayBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines – Four-peat UAAP champion Ateneo survived Letran’s rally late, 55-51, Saturday in the opening day of the 2012 FilOil Flying V Pre-season Hanes Cup at the Arena in San Juan.
The Blue Eagles blew a double-digit lead they built at the half but managed to pull through in the end, thanks to their defense.
“One of the things [coach Norman Black] told the players is that he is sure that their offense will be rusty and he wanted to put emphasis on defense and I think we were able to do that,” said Ateneo coach Sandy Arespacochaga, who will momentarily take over the coaching reins before Black comes back after a coaching clinic in the States.
“Of course it would’ve been better if we played better offense but we recognized that we haven’t really jelled that well offensively but defensively we got the job done,” he added.
Greg Slaughter dominated the paint as he scored 14 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to go along with three blocks.
Later, reigning NCAA champion San Beda withstood a furious fightback by La Salle to hack out a 69-63 win.
The Red Lions led by as much as 17 points and looked well on their way to an easy win after an Anjo Caram triple had them ahead, 61-46, with only 2:27 left.
Not going down without a fight, the Green Archers started hitting their shots and were able to force errors on the other end.
Almond Vosotros sank a trey that pulled La Salle to within four, 63-67, with 16.6 seconds remaining.
San Beda held on after Caram’s two free throws as La Salle just had little time left to complete its comeback.
“I guess we really tried to outwork them and the only way we could hurdle them it through our defense,” said San Beda coach Ronnie Magsanoc.