Eagles clinch Final 4 bonus
Ateneo fought back from 19 points down in the last six minutes of regulation then stunned Far Eastern University in overtime, 68-64, to grab the No. 1 semifinal spot in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament yesterday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Kiefer Ravena caught fire to end what looked like his worst performance of the season, dropping 12 of his game-high 23 points in the last six minutes of the fourth quarter, including two free throws that forged overtime, 59-59, with 20.3 seconds left.
“This season has been tremendous for us. It has been a revelation for so many players, especially Kiefer,” said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol after his Eagles, who trailed at 36-55, wrapped up their elimination run on top with an 11-3 record, while nailing the first twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
The Tamaraws, who ended their elimination round with back-to-back losses for a 10-4 slate, still have a chance for the other twice-to-beat bonus in a playoff match this Saturday against La Salle.
The Green Archers forged a tie for second after hacking out an emphatic 68-56 triumph over National University in the second game.
The Bulldogs fell to fourth but their chance of clinching the last semifinal berth hinges on University of Santo Tomas beating University of the East Tuesday. A win allows UE to tie NU’s 9-5 record and force another playoff for the No. 4 slot.
The Tamaraws, starring Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia, dominated the first three quarters before collapsing in the fourth period where they only nailed one field goal and sank just two of 13 free throws in the last six minutes.
FEU still had a chance to salvage the game in regulation, but Tolomia missed two free throws with 2.8 seconds left.
Ateneo’s great escape recalled a similar stroke of luck when the Eagles got away with a 70-69 decision over lowly University of the Philippines when Maroons’ guard Mike Reyes blew two free throws with eighth tenths of a second left last Sept. 4.
Chris Newsome also came out big in the clutch to finish with 13 points, 16 rebounds, three assists and four steals for the Eagles.
Almond Vosotros hit his stride early to finish with 15 points and Arnold Van Opstal also had 14 markers to lead the Archers, who launched a 9-0 spurt that set the tone for their second-half breakaway, 46-37, after a deadlock at 37.
Norbert Torres added 13 points.
ATENEO 68—Ravena 23, Newsome 13, Gotladera 9, Pessumal 7, Capacio 6, Babilonia 5, Elorde 3, V. Tolentino 2, Doliguez 0, Tolentino 0.
FEU 64—Belo 16, Pogoy 15, Tolomia 10, Cruz 8, Hargrove 8, Iñigo 3, Jose 2, Dennison 2, Tamsi 0, Denila 0, Lee Yu 0.
Quarters: 7-12, 18-25, 26-45, 59-59 (reg.), 68-64 (OT)
LA SALLE 68—Vosotros 15, Van Opstal 14, Torres 13, Teng 9, Perkins 8, Montalbo 5, Sargent 4, Bolick 0, Mustre 0, Rivero 0, Tratter 0.
NU 56—Alolino 18, Rosario 14, Aroga 8, Javelona 8, Betayene 4, Khobuntin 4, Celda 0, Diputado 0, Neypes 0, Perez 0.
Quarters: 20-17, 31-31, 49-43, 68-56
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