UAAP: Ateneo takes frustrations out on UP for first win
Thirdy Ravena and Ateneo stamped their class all over upstart Katipunan rival UP
Ateneo was not starting its title defense in the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament with back-to-back losses.
Veterans Anton Asistio and Matt Nieto made sure of that as they merged to lead the Blue Eagles in outclassing Katipunan rival University of the Philippines, 87-79, on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Coming off an upset loss to start the season, Ateneo was even more determined than ever for a win.
Still, the upstart Fighting Maroons were giving them a fight in the earlygoing before Asistio and Nieto spearheaded a 12-0 run bridging the second and third quarters that turned a two-point deficit into a 53-43 advantage. “It’s really hard. What a game UP played, but I’m happy with the fight we had in us,” head coach Tab Baldwin said.
The double-digit would hold only until Juan Gomez de Liano detonated an 8-2 blast to pull State U to within 72-77 inside the last five minutes.
Ravena and Asistio had the answer, however, and got together for a 6-1 run that gave the Blue Eagles an 83-73 lead with 3:16 remaining.
Not long after, the defending champions were celebrating another triumph over their neighbors and their formal entry into the win column.
Ravena wound up with 17 points on top of 11 rebounds and four assists while Asistio had 16 points of his own.
First-year Ivorian tower Angelo Kouame also rose with 14 points, nine rebounds, and five blocks in this one.
Even with the bounce back win, however, coach Tab, as always saw much room for improvement. “I thought our intensity today was what we want to be, but our execution is far from what we envisioned it to be,” coach Tab said.
UP fell for the first time in the tournament following a 29-point win in the season opener. That squandered Juan GDL’s career-best 29 points on top of six rebounds and two assists as well as Bright Akhuetie’s near triple-double of nine markers, 11 boards, and nine dimes.
ATENEO 87 – Ravena 17, Asistio 16, Kouame 14, Ma. Nieto 12, Mi. Nieto 7, Go 5, Mendoza 5, Wong 5, Verano 4, Black 2, Belangel 0, Navarro 0.
UP 79 – Ju. Gomez de Liano 29, Desiderio 15, Manzo 9, Akhuetie 8, Ja. Gomez de Liano 5, Murrell 4, Dario 3, Gozum 2, Prado 2, Vito 2, Jaboneta 0, Lim 0, Spencer 0, Tungcab 0.
Quarters: 25-24, 46-43, 67-58, 87-79.
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