Tigers give a scare, but Eagles have more than enough to fly to 5-0

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 27, 2017 06:52 PM
Tigers give a scare, but Eagles have enough to fly to 5-0
FOLLOW ME. Isaac Go and Ateneo's veterans showed the way to a fifth win in as many games.

Ateneo de Manila University has been winning by double-digits in each and every game thus far in the 80th Season of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament.

They finally found themselves in a closer contest than usual on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.

And still, the Blue Eagles proved to have enough to ward off oncoming University of Sto. Tomas for a well-earned 94-84 win.

The Katipunan-based squad had won by an average of 17.8 points in its first four games before finding itself in a matchup that unexpectedly went down the wire. “We’re happy that we won the game, but at the same time, we’re not happy with our performance,” coach Sandy Arespacochaga said.

From as large as 22 in the third quarter, Ateneo saw its lead dwindle down to just a solitary point, 80-81, inside the last seven minutes.

It was at that point that veterans Anton Asistio, Vince Tolentino, and Thirdy Ravena connived for six unanswered points to re-establish a more comfortable 87-80 advantage for them. “We definitely need to improve in (closing out games). You really can’t take any team for granted in this league,” Arespacochaga said.

From there, UST still had several shots at the league-leaders, but only made good on 4-of-10 free throws with under four minutes to go.

Matt Nieto’s turnaround fadeaway from the midrange over the outstretched arms of two defenders then put the finishing touches on the Blue Eagles’ rise to a still league-leading 5-0.

It was that kind of game for the third-year point guard who fired a career-best 22 points.

Isaac Go also turned in his best performance of the season with 13 points, four rebounds, and two assists while Ravena wound up with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists of his own.

For the Tigers, the backcourt of Marvin Lee and Jordan Sta. Ana did the damage with 22 and 21 points, respectively.

They are the only team in the league to have come this close to Ateneo – something that all of Adamson University, University of the Philippines, Far Eastern University, and University of the East cannot say.

Still, they remain winless through five games.

BOX SCORES

ATENEO 94 – Nieto Ma 22, Go 13, Ravena 12, Mamuyac 8, Ikeh 7, Asistio 7, Nieto Mi 6, Tolentino 5, Verano 4, Tio 3, Mallillin 3, Black 2, Mendoza 2, Porter 0

UST 84 – Lee 22, Sta. Ana 21, Faundo 6, Escalambre 6, Akomo 6, Romero 6, Garcia 4, Huang 4, Basibas 4, Soriano 3, De Guzman 2, Kwawukumey 0, Arana 0

QUARTER SCORES: 29-23, 55-43, 76-71, 94-84

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