MANILA, Philippines – Five-peat UAAP champion Ateneo leaned on Greg Slaughter as the Blue Eagles outclassed Southwestern University, 96-78, Friday in the single-round Final Four of the 2012 PCCL at the San Juan Arena.
Slaughter asserted his will with 18 points on nine-of-13 shooting from the field.
“Everyone was present in practice and that gave us a big boost,” said Ateneo assistant coach Gabby Severino.
The Blue Eagles made a concerted effort to dump the ball down to the six-foot-11 Slaughter, who didn’t disappoint, as he managed to take out the Cobras’ main weapons in Justine Aboude and Benoit Mbala.
“We knew that they can play. It’s good that we have Greg. Medyo nailang sila,” added Severino.
Kiefer Ravena also made his presence felt with 16 points, four rebounds and five assists.
The Blue Eagles, who won back-to-back titles in the 2009 and 2010 edition of the tournament, led by as much as 27 points, 80-63, in the latter part of the third period.
SWU, who bowed out of contention for a Finals slot, fought back as it pulled to within 13, 62-76, on a jumper by Aboude with 7:51 left.
Ateneo retaliated thanks to its transition plays, pouncing SWU’s sloppy play.
A Slaughter dunk over Aboude before another inside basket by the big man that drew Mbala’s fifth foul pushed the Eagles lead back to 18, 85-67.
Keeping its foot on the gas pedal, Ravena lobbed it off to Slaughter for the dagger of a dunk to make it a 20-point game, 87-67, with 4:15 remaining.
Ateneo, which bounced back from a 66-76 loss to rival University of Santo Tomas, leveled its win-loss record to 1-1 before a crucial clash with NCAA champion San Beda on Sunday.
Nico Salva, Opin Sumalinog, Justin Chua are also playing with their respective teams in the PBA D-League.
Salva added 10 points.