UAAP Finals: Blue Eagles draw first blood, Salva leads rout of Tamaraws
MANILA, Philippines—Ateneo coach Norman Black had said that those who question the Blue Eagles’ desire may be in for a surprise.
The Blue Eagles gave Far Eastern University quite a shock with a dominant second-half show to post an 82-64 rout Saturday and move within a victory of a historic fourth straight UAAP men’s basketball crown.
Nico Salva had a perfect game from the field as the Eagles also got away with a lot of baskets from underneath in Game 1 of the best-of-three series that drew a packed crowd of 18,972 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Salva pumped in a game-high 24 points built on a perfect 8-of-8 field goal shooting clip aside from going 8-of-8 from the free throw line.
“What a time to have that type of game during a championship series,” Black said of Salva, the veteran forward who also hauled down six rebounds and swatted one shot. “He also did a very good job defensively in the second half.”
The Eagles, who had a staggering 60-percent shooting clip, outscored the Tamaraws 50-22 at the paint.
The Eagles broke away from a halftime deadlock at 33 with a run anchored on Salva, Kiefer Ravena, Greg Slaughter and Kirk Long as the defending champions also shut down FEU’s top gunners for a 60-49 advantage by the end of the third period.
FEU coach Bert Flores admitted that the Eagles had “a perfect game” as his Tamaraws blew an early 28-18 edge in the second quarter.
“We had our game plan in the first and second quarters, but their (Eagles) execution in the second half was very good,” said Flores. “They had a perfect game.”
Last year’s MVP RR Garcia struggled from the field, missing all seven attempts from three-point range and finishing with six points.
FEU prevailed in the opener of the juniors championship as the Baby Tamaraws slipped past National University, 71-67, in overtime.
In women’s action, Adamson moved closer to clinching its third straight title after rallying to a 60-56 triumph over FEU.
ATENEO 82—Salva 24, Ravena 17, Slaughter 12, Monfort 11, Long 8, Erram 4, Tiongson 4, Chua 2, Gonzaga 0, Golla 0, Austria 0.
FEU 64—Romeo 23, Escoto 12, Ramos 9, Garcia 6, Exciminiano 6, Tolomia 5, Pogoy 2, Cruz 1, Sentcheu 0, Bringas 0.
Quarters: 14-19, 33-33, 60-49, 82-64
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.