Matt Nieto shoots down FEU as Ateneo sets up Finals rematch with DLSU

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 22, 2017 06:54 PM
Nieto shoots down FEU as Ateneo sets up rematch with DLSU
IN THE NICK OF TIME. Matt Nieto took charge in overtime, but have to thank Isaac Go for making sure the game went there.

Ateneo de Manila University rediscovered its winning form just in the nick of time in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

That’s all because Matt Nieto and Isaac Go rediscovered their shooting form just in the nick of time on Wednesday at the MOA Arena.

The Blue Eagles are swooping into the Finals after stopping fighting Far Eastern University dead in its tracks in overtime, 88-84, on Wednesday at the MOA Arena.

Go sent the game into overtime where Nieto then took over to spearhead the Katipunan-based squad’s entry into the Finals. There, they face-off again with archrival and defending champion De La Salle University.

Ateneo was chasing down a one-point deficit inside the last three minutes of the extra period before Chibueze Ikeh’s split from the stripe and Nieto’s midrange and deep-range jumpers propelled their team onto an 85-80 lead. “Of course, credit to our players who never gave up. There were up and downs, but what a great game and we’re happy our players experienced that,” coach Sandy Arespacochaga said.

Richard Escoto’s quick two pulled the Tamaraws to within 82-85, but that was the closest they would come as Go made good on an impossible shot just while he was falling to the floor. “We could see their growth in the game and we’re happy they got to experience that,” the mentor said.

Not long after, the Blue Eagles put an end to an untimely two-game losing skid and powered their way onto their second straight championship round.

Their point guard was the biggest reason for it all with 16 points, four assists, and three rebounds while their sweet-shooting center contributed 13 markers, nine boards, and one block.

Thirdy Ravena also contributed 17 points, seven rebounds, and four assists while Chibueze Ikeh posted a 16-point, 11-rebound double-double.

All those were vital in overcoming what was one an eight-point deficit with six minutes remaining. “I’d like to commend our boys for their focus. That seemed like a lost game, but they really stayed focused,” Arespacochaga said.

Jasper Parker starred all game long for FEU with a total of 19 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals. It was also his layup and two free throws that put his team on top by three with 14.5 ticks to go in regulation.

Go and Nieto had other plans, however and took the fight out of them.

Ron Dennison and Jojo Trinidad played their last game in green and gold and wound up with four and six points, respectively.

BOX SCORES

ATENEO 88 – Ravena 17, Nieto Ma 16, Ikeh 16, Go 13, Mendoza 5, Tio 5, Nieto Mi 4, Tolentino 3, Black 3, Mamuyac 2, Verano 2, Porter 2, Asistio 0

FEU 84 – Parker 19, Tolentino 13, Comboy 11, Orizu 10, Escoto 6, Inigo 6, Trinidad 6, Cani 5, Dennison 4, Ebona 2, Tuffin 2, Bayquin 0

QUARTER SCORES: 21-15, 40-33, 57-53, 75-75, 88-84 (OT)

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