UP downs Ateneo for first time in seven years

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 08, 2016 07:13 PM
UP downs Ateneo for first time in seven years
BACK ONCE AGAIN. UP had to wait seven years to once again get the better of Katipunan neighbor Ateneo.

Under siege by Ateneo de Manila University who trimmed a seven-point deficit into only one inside the last two minutes, Gelo Vito buried a booming triple to take back control for the University of the Philippines.

Only, game officials waived it off.

Given another golden opportunity a minute later, Vito made sure his corner three counted to lift the University of the Philippines over the Blue Eagles in a 56-52 thriller of a triumph on Saturday at the MOA Arena.

The big-time win halted the Fighting Maroons’ four-game losing skid and got them back on track now at 2-6 in the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament. “It’s extra special in the sense that we were able to put an end to the (losing) streak,” a beaming coach Bo Perasol said after defeating his former team for the first time.

He then continued, “There’s no extra feeling that I defeated my former team, but I am happy for my players now who were able to get the win.”

More importantly, the decision made State U the victors in The Battle of Katipunan for the first time since 2009. “At least with the next teams, we can say that it was the 2009 team that last won against Ateneo, but it was the 2016 team,” Perasol added.

Back in 2009, the Maroons got the better of their neighbors, 68-58. Since then, however, they were at the losing end in all of their next 14 outings – until now.

It almost wasn’t meant to be as following Vito’s trey, Adrian Wong found an opening for a layup to pull Ateneo within two. Sent to the line, however, UP captain Jett Manuel converted both of his charities to seal the deal on their big-time win.

The contest was close and featured seven deadlocks and 14 lead changes until Dave Moralde sparked an 8-1 charge that turned a tied tally into a 51-44 advantage for the Maroons with 5:10 remaining.

Thirdy Ravena and Wong kept coming, however, and carried the Eagles to only one point behind, 50-51, with 1:39 to go. It was at that point that Vito buried a booming triple, but had it waived off because teammate Paul Desiderio committed an offensive foul.

The two teams then exchanged defensive stops and with less than 20 ticks on the clock, Manuel found an open Vito in the corner. The latter didn’t hesitate and made his three count this time around.

Manuel wound up with 15 points to show the way while Vito chipped in seven markers of his own.

For Ateneo, Wong and Chibueze Ikeh had 10 points apiece, but an offense that only made good on 30.5 percent of their shots led to their second straight setback. They now stand at 4-4 and out of the top four.

BOX SCORES

UP 56 – Manuel 15, Desiderio 9, Moralde 8, Lim 8, Vito 7, Jaboneta 3, Prado 2, Dario 2, Gomez de Liaño 2, Webb 0, Asilum 0, Harris 0, Romero 0

ATENEO 52 – Wong 10, Ikeh 10, Nieto Mi 9, Verano 9, Ravena 6, Tolentino 5, Babilonia 3, Asistio 0, Nieto Ma 0, Mendoza 0, Porter 0

QUARTER SCORES: 10-11, 23-23, 41-39, 56-52

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