Ateneo claims semifinals edge | Inquirer Sports

Ateneo claims semifinals edge

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 11:11 PM November 16, 2016

Ateneo vs Adamson_6757 - mike nieto

Coach Sandy Arespacochaga is no miracle worker, but he sure is a great motivator.

With a lineup replete with newbies, it’s amazing how the Ateneo coaching staff has turned things around for the Blue Eagles to frustrate every championship contender in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament.


They were at it again last night, clipping the wings of the Adamson Falcons, 73-67, to book a twice-to-beat edge against the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in the Final Four and end their elimination campaign soaring on a six-game win streak.


“Of course, it’s good to have a twice-to-beat advantage. But FEU is the defending champion and they won’t give up this championship without a fight,’’ said Arespacochaga. “We don’t think that we have the advantage, that’s a trap for us.’’

Thirdy Ravena had 14 points and 12 rebounds but it was Mike Nieto and Isaac Go who delivered the goods in the clutch.

“We just want to prove our doubters wrong. We’re a young team but we’re capable of winning,’’ said Nieto, who joined forces with Go in a 14-2 tear that broke the will of the Falcons.

Though he heaped a lot of praises on his Eagles, Arespacochaga and his coaching staff have been doing splendid work pushing the Eagles past their limitations.

“Hats off to our coaches. If not for their efforts, we will not be here,’’ said Ravena.

The Blue Eagles dealt the La Salle Green Archers their only blow of the season and subdued the Tamaraws prior to putting a stop on Adamson’s four-game run.


Landing in a tie at 9-5 with the Tamaraws, the Falcons fell to the No. 4 seeding due to an inferior quotient and are set to face the La Salle Green Archers in the Final Four.

After winding up their elimination campaign at 13-1, the Archers have solidified their hold of the top ranking and the twice-to-beat privilege that goes with it. The Final Four begins Wednesday next week.

Axel Iñigo swished a decisive three with less than a minute left as the Tamaraws survived the University of the East Warriors, 64-61, and snapped a three-game slide in the other game.

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“We just wanted to get a win before we go to the playoffs,’’ said FEU coach Nash Racela. “It was a struggle, but we’re learning to play through it.”

The Tamaraws, who trailed all game long before Wendel Comboy and Iñigo took the initiative, sent the Warriors to their 11th defeat in 14 outings on the last elimination-round playdate.

TAGS: Blue Eagles, UAAP

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