Eagles score fifth straight to swoop onto solo second
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 12, 2016 04:41 PM
FLY AWAY. Ateneo remained the hottest team in the league now with five wins in a row.
Just having emphatically entered the conversation for the top two, Ateneo de Manila University saw to it that there wasn’t going be any letdown in continuing to climb the standings of the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Taking care of their business, the Blue Eagles trumped a more inspired than usual University of Sto. Tomas, 74-64, on Saturday at the MOA Arena.
Coming off back-to-back upsets of archrival De La Salle University and defending champion Far Eastern University, Ateneo stretched its winning streak to five games and remained the hottest team in the league now at 9-4.
More than that, the Eagles claimed sole possession of the second-seed and the twice-to-beat advantage it entails. “We have put ourselves in a position where we can get a twice-to-beat so we have to forget everything and see where that takes us,” a satisfied coach Tab Baldwin said.
FEU will tie them again for the second spot if they win their ongoing matchup with DLSU.
Still, Louie Vigil, playing in the last game of his collegiate career, kept the Growling Tigers within striking distance for most of the matchup. In fact, they were still threatening at 59-62 inside the last five minutes.
It was at that point, however, that Mike Nieto yet again showed off his newfound shooting and dropped a buzzer-beating triple that detonated Ateneo’s 12-5 blast to close out the contest.
Nieto wound up with 13 points to back up George Go who did the heavy lifting with a career-high 15 points. “Our team is full of good players. Wer are happy to see they have developed through the course of the season,” Baldwin expressed.
The third-year center was at the forefront of the Eagles’ inside dominance as they registered a 50-33 advantage in rebounding and 42-26 advantage in points in the paint.
Without any answers to the Katipunan towers, UST finished the season at 3-11 – their worst showing in the Final Four era. Team captain Vigil topped the scoring column with 14 points, but fouled out still with 1:52 to go.
ATENEO 74 – Go 15, Nieto Mi 13, Tolentino 11, Asistio 6, Wong 5, ikeh 5, Black 5, Verano 5, Mendoza 4, Ravena 3, Nieto Ma 2, Ildefonso 0, Porter 0
UST 64 – Vigil 14, Lee 9, Sheriff 9, Faundo 8, Macasaet 8, De Guzman 8, Subido 3, Lao 3, Afoakwah 2, Huang 0, Caunan 0, Basibas 0, Arana 0
QUARTER SCORES: 16-15, 38-36, 58-53, 74-64
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.