UAAP: Ateneo avenges opening game loss, trips UP
Defending champion Ateneo went back to the winning business and withstood University of the Philippines, 87-79, in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Widely considered the favorites to win it all, the Blue Eagles got an early wake-up call in the form of a 74-70 loss to Adamson win in their opening game, but made sure there were no surprises this time as they clamped down on the Fighting Maroons down to improve to 1-1.
Ateneo already held a 67-58 heading into the fourth quarter, but UP persistently tried to chip at the margin and got as close as five points, 75-70, after Juan Gomez De Liaño’s three capped an 8-0 run at the 5:15 mark.
Interestingly enough, the Fighting Maroons’ run came after head coach Bo Perasol was ejected at the 6:56 mark after he charged at an official.
The Blue Eagles, though, weathered the storm with a timely scoring sprint, most of which came from the free throw line.
Thirdy Ravena made two charities for Ateneo’s 81-73 lead with 3:21 left in the game before Anton Asistio made it a 10-point game, 83-73, with a layup after after the inbounds pass for the layup two seconds later.
“I’m happy with the fight we had inside of us today and that was more evident than the game against Adamson,” said Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin.
“Our intensity today was a reflection of the team but the execution is still lacking but I’m now more confident as we face the UAAP even more. Our execution will be better.”
Ravena put up 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Blue Eagles while Asistio wasn’t far behind with 16 points on 4-of-5 shooting from deep.
Angelo Kouma missed out on a double-double for Ateneo finishing with 14 points and nine boards with five blocks.
De Liaño had 29 points and six rebounds to lead the Fighting Maroons who started their season with an 87-58 win over University of the East.
For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity.
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.