Ateneo climbs to 11-0, claims twice-to-beat advantage
GO TO WORK. Ateneo is now three wins away from sweeping the elimination round.
It was just another day in the office for Ateneo de Manila University on Saturday at the MOA Arena.
And working like they have done throughout the tournament, the Blue Eagles had no problems whatsoever up against University of the East for a convincing 97-73 victory.
The decision gave the Katipunan-based squad its 11th win in as many games in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament. “We’re happy to get this one under our belt. Every game is a step forward forward for our team,” coach Tab Baldwin said.
It also gave them the first of two playoff incentives – if there is to be a Final Four.
After a tight first quarter and a half, Thirdy Ravena poured in five points, two rebounds, and two assists in a 15-4 rush that increased a five-point edge into a 47-31 advantage.
The lead would only go as high as 31 in the final frame.
Four Blue Eagles were in double-digits led by Ravena who wound up with 17 points on top of eight rebounds and four assists. Vince Tolentino and Raffy Verano also chipped in 12 points apiece.
Their depth was much evident yet again as their bench buried their counterparts, 50-23.
It wasn’t just on offense that the league-leaders dominated, however as they held King Warrior Alvin Pasaol to a season-low eight points in 2-of-11 shooting from the field.
The second-year sensation had been averaging 22 points coming into the contest and famously dropped a milestone mark 49 points on De La Salle University.
Now, Ateneo is three wins away from sweeping the elimination round and, therefore, automatically advancing into the Finals. If that’s the case, they will have no use for the twice-to-beat advantage they have just won.
With two of their last three assignments coming against teams at the bottom half of the standings, that is very much a possibility. However, Baldwin’s sights remain on continuing to get better as he said, “A lot to be pleased, but still a lot to improve on.”
On the other hand, one more loss will eliminate 3-9 UE from contention.
In lieu of Pasaol, it was Mark Maloles and Mark Olayon who topped the scoring column for them with 20 and 15 points, respectively.
ATENEO 97 - Ravena 17, Mendoza 13, Tolentino 12, Verano 12, Asistio 9, Porter 9, Nieto Mi. 7, Ikeh 7, Mamuyac 3, Nieto Ma. 2, Go 2, Black 2, Andrade 2, Tio 0, White 0.
UE 73 - Maloles 20, Olayon 15, Pasaol 8, Bartolome 7, Cullar 5, Varilla 5, Acuno 4, Derige 4, Manalang 3, Conner 2, Cruz 0, Toribio 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 21-18, 48-35, 71-52, 97-73
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