UAAP: Ateneo battles back to defeat Far Eastern U in overtime
MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo showcased steely resolve behind its prized acquisitions as it shut down Far Eastern University, 74-67, in overtime Saturday in the 74th UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
The defending champions reasserted control over the Tamaraws, but not before battling back from 16 points down to forge extra five minutes where the Blue Eagles flipped the script in their favor.
Greg Slaughter, the league-leader in statistical points, opened up the scoring in OT with a nifty finger roll then attacked again to give Ateneo a five-point breather with 31.2 ticks remaining.
“I’m just happy we got into overtime. We had the momentum and we were able to capitalize,” said the seven-foot center, who dominated with another double-double showing of 15 points and 10 boards.
Kiefer Ravena, meanwhile, atoned for a scoreless first half by drilling in 15 points, capped by back-to-back clutch lay-ins that extended the game for another five minutes in which Ateneo then outscored FEU, 11-4.
Ravena, who is behind Slaughter in the MVP race, nailed the equalizer with 8.8 ticks remaining, but also made his presence felt as he dumped the leather to Nico Salva for a timely basket with 1:21 in overtime which virtually sealed Ateneo’s eighth straight victory sans a loss.
Salva scored a team-best 18 points, with 10 coming from the payoff period and OT.
The Blue Eagles played catch up for most of the contest and only got the taste of the lead in overtime, but for coach Normal Black, it only showed what character his team truly has.
“FEU really controlled the game all throughout. We showed that we won’t give up,” said Black of his team’s come-from-behind win.
For a moment, FEU looked ready to deal Ateneo its first loss and exact revenge for the first round whipping they got as reigning MVP RR Garcia knocked down a clutch trey from the right corner with 1:16 in regulation for a 63-57 advantage.
But that was the last Garcia, who had 17 points and six dimes, would score as the entire FEU squad faltered in the face of Ateneo’s swarming defense.
The Tamaraws, who led by 36-20 in the second quarter, did not get the scoring chances in overtime that they relished in regulation as most of their attempts were swiped away.
Aldrech Ramos, who had a phenomenal first half, went scoreless in the second half for a total of eight points before sophomore guard Terrence Romeo, who fimished with 11 points on a losing cause, committed crucial turnovers down the stretch.