Ateneo survives UST, inches closer to twice-to-beat
Ateneo took down a determined University of Santo Tomas side, 74-64, Saturday to secure a playoff for the top two spot in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Eagles improved to 9-4 and inched closer to nabbing the last twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four. They face Adamson on Wednesday to wrap up their schedule.
Isaac Go towered for Ateneo with 15 points and four rebounds, but it was Mike Nieto who shone the brightest in the fourth, pouring five points including the huge three-pointer with 4:12 to play to give his side a 65-59 lead. He finished with 13 markers, six boards, and two assists.
Anton Asistio followed it up with a crucial four-point play to take the fight out of UST, 69-61, with 3:26 remaining.
Vince Tolentino just missed out on a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds in the victory.
Despite the win, coach Tab Baldwin admitted feeling frustrated with the Blue Eagles’ lackluster play, resulting to 23 turnovers in the game.
“I’m a little disappointed. I’m happy to win the game, happy that our second round looks good on paper, but it’s not an efficient game,” he said. “For us, we want our game to be more characterized by better defense. We’re happy to get the win, but I think we need to play better basketball than today and I think the boys know that.”
Louie Vigil wrapped up his collegiate career in UST with 14 points before fouling out with 1:52 left in the game.
The Growling Tigers ended their campaign with a 3-11 record, their worst slate in the Final Four era.
ATENEO 74 – Go 15, Mi. Nieto 13, Tolentino 11, Asistio 6, Wong 5, ikeh 5, Black 5, Verano 5, Mendoza 4, Ravena 3, Ma. Nieto 2, Ildefonso 0, Porter 0.
UST 64 – Vigil 14, Lee 9, Sheriff 9, Faundo 8, Macasaet 8, De Guzman 8, Subido 3, Lao 3, Afoakwah 2, Huang 0, Caunan 0, Basibas 0, Arana 0.
Quarters: 16-15, 38-36, 58-53, 74-64.
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