UAAP F4 rematch between Ateneo, FEU in Filoil Preseason semis
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 28, 2018 09:29 PM
Matt Nieto added to his clutch credentials, saving the day for Ateneo against Letran
Ateneo de Manila University was 25.3 seconds away from its very first loss in the 2018 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup – the very first loss that would boot it out of contention.
Matt Nieto was having none of it, however, and made good on back-to-back short stabs that lifted the Blue Eagles over very game Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 74-72, on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Nieto only had nine points in the end, but four of those came when it mattered most. “In the end, I’m glad that we were able to get some stops and execute our plays. I’d like to thank our players for digging deep especially in the last few minutes,” coach Sandy Arrespacochaga said post-game.
In a close contest that featured 10 deadlocks and eight lead changes, Bong Quinto put the Knights up by two with 25.3 ticks to go on the clock.
Off a timeout, Arrespacochaga, filling in for Tab Baldwin, went to his court general.
Nieto, not even 24 hours back home from a series of tuneup games in Greece, did nothing but deliver, leaving JP Calvo in the dust at the top of the key and then making good on a layup while also fishing a foul.
He missed the freebie, but Angelo Kouame kept the ball alive.
Ateneo then went back to Nieto and he came through once more to grant his team a 74-72 edge.
Letran still had 5.4 seconds to make something happen, but Jeo Ambohot’s triple try hit back rim, finishing the job on the Blue Eagles ascent into the semifinals where they meet UAAP rival Far Eastern University.
There would be no Ateneo-La Salle in the semis as the Green Archers were ousted by the Tamaraws in the earlier game.
Hubert Cani caught fire in the endgame and fired half of his 22 points to shoot FEU over La Salle, 76-69.
Aljun Melecio’s triple put the Taft-based team on top, 65-63, inside the last four minutes before Cani quickly countered with a corner three.
From there, Cani buried four straight fadeaway midrange jumpers over the outstretched arms of different defenders to outscore all of the Green Archers.
Already in front, 74-69, with 27.8 ticks to go, the Tamaraws charged ahead for good with a defensive stop and then a breakaway layup courtesy from Wendell Comboy.
For head coach Olsen Racela, their advance into the semis is just another opportunity for his boys to get better. “Nagustuhan ko lang ngayon, we have one more game to prepare us for the season. Ang maganda, we get to play favored teams na magpe-prepare sa amin this season,” he said.
Andrei Caracut paced La Salle with 15 points. Their 7-3 performance in the preseason is nonetheless promising despite the quarterfinals exit.
For the Knights, JP Calvo topped the scoring column with 16 points. They bow out of the tournament with a 5-4 record and after a gallant stand up against the UAAP champions.
FEU 76 — Cani 22, Orizu 10, Tolentino 10, Comboy 6, Eboña 6, Escoto 6, Tuffin 6, Iñigo 3, Stockton 3, Gonzales 2, Parker 2, Jopia 0, Nunag 0, Ramirez 0.
LA SALLE 69 — Caracut 15, Baltazar 14, Melecio 14, Samuel 12, Dyke 6, Go 6, Manuel 2, Bates 0, Capacio 0, Corteza 0, Herrera 0, Lim 0, Manaytay 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 15-11, 35-27, 52-46, 76-69.
ATENEO 74 — Ma. Nieto 9, Mi. Nieto 9, Kouame 8, Asistio 6, Ravena 6, Wong 6, Navarro 5, Tio 5, Verano 5, Belangel 4, Go 4, White 3, Maagdenberg 2, Mendoza 2, Andrade 0, Black 0, Mamuyac 0.
LETRAN 72 — Calvo 16, Batiller 13, Fajarito 10, Muyang 10, Quinto 10, Celis 4, Agbong 2, Balagasay 2, Balanza 2, Yu 2, Ambohot 1, Mandreza 0, Taladua 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 15-17, 30-35, 56-52, 74-72.
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