Ateneo claims City Hoops crown before heading to Greece
Isaac Go and Ateneo have won another championship just in time to boost their morale for a 14-day camp in Greece
Just a day after their overtime thriller against archrival De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University once again figured in a physical contest, this time against Far Eastern University.
But just as they have always done throughout the preseason, the UAAP's defending champions were able to stay composed as they surged past the top-seed Tamaraws, 70-58, to win the 2018 SMART City Hoops 25-Under Summer Classic on Wednesday.
Thirdy Ravena, who was only activated for the tournament during the semifinals, led the Blue Eagles' balanced attack with 12 points and six rebounds.
Fellow Gilas Cadet Isaac Go and Ivorian reinforcement Angelo Kouame chipped in nine points each while Matt Nieto collected seven points, three assists, and three steals.
More importantly, it was the veteran leadership of those seniors that kept Ateneo composed when things got physical between both squads in the second quarter.
"We got enough veterans on this team and that is why we stayed composed. Fortunately, in the second half, we settled down and we got away with the win," said head coach Tab Baldwin.
Down 35-39 early in the third frame, the Blue Eagles locked down the Tamaraws, limiting them to just 12 points.
At the other end, SJ Belangel then provided the spark off the bench, scoring all six of his points in a 13-1 run that gave the boys from Katipunan a 57-44 advantage.
"We're just searching for better play. We only had three full practices since May 1 and a couple of abbreviated practices. We had a two-week break because of Finals and another because of Baler. Everything else is just games," opined Baldwin.
"We're really suffering right now. And it's the same thing with Greece but that's the way it is," he added as they are set to fly to Greece for a 14-day camp.
Jasper Parker tried to will the Tamaraws in the final frame, scoring all but five points in the fourth quarter. However, the rest of the team was misfiring and the Ateneo lead could only go down to as low as eight, 61-53, with 4:32 left.
Arvin Tolentino had a team-high 16 points and six rebounds while Parker added 12 points for FEU which settled for a runner-up finish.
ATENEO 70 - Ravena 12, Kouame 9, Go 9, Ma. Nieto 7, Navarro 6, Belangel 6, Mi. Nieto 5, Mendoza 5, Maadenberg 4, Asistio 3, Verano 3, Tio 1, Mamuyac 0, Black 0, White 0.
FEU 58 - Tolentino 16, Parker 12, Orizu 8, Gonzales 8, Comboy 7, Cani 4, Eboña 2, Escoto 1, Nunag 0, Stockton 0, Iñigo 0, Ramirez 0, Bienes 0, Tuffin 0, Jopia 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 21-18,32-32, 55-44, 70-58