Ateneo triumphs over rival La SalleBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo dominated the shaded lane and leaned on its steady shooting from the stripe to best rival La Salle, 71-61, in the 75th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena Saturday.
Greg Slaughter powered his way inside with 20 points and seven rebounds while Kiefer Ravena and Nico Salva provided the offensive spark with 16 points each, and combined for 11 rebounds.
Salva scored two freethrows, Ravena and Juami Tiongson split their charities in the final minutes as Ateneo kept afloat and staved off a late rally by La Salle.
Salva and Slaughter starred in the demolition job for Ateneo, which led 26-10 early in the first half. Alternate baskets by both players gave the Eagles a seemingly safe lead, 62-53, with 5:41 left.
But La Salle, which managed to stay toe-to-toe with Ateneo after a sluggish start, rallied back to trim the lead down to four, 64-60, on a trey by Bryan Manguera.
The Blue Eagles, however, still had control for most of the game despite misfiring on all of its seven attempts from downtown.
“That’s the best thing about our team. If we can’t make our shots outside, we can dump it to Greg [Slaughter] or Nico [Salva] in the paint. That’s the beauty of our team,” said Ravena.
Ateneo raised its record to 3-1, second behind the undefeated league leading Far Eastern University.
LA Revilla had a phenomenal outing for the Green Archers, braving the clogged lanes, making the tough shots and setting up his teammates as he finished with 16 points, five rebounds and seven assists.
The starting guard helped La Salle weather Ateneo’s lead and trimmed it down to within a point before Luigi Dela Paz and Norbert Torres each completed and-one plays to put their squad on top, 50-49, with two minutes to go in the third quarter. It was the last time that the Archers would lead in the game before finally bowing to their archrivals and sliding to 2-2 in the standings.