Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University blasted Far Eastern University (FEU), 92-73, to strengthen its Final Four bid in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 76 men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Ateneo improved to 6-4 to share the No. 3 position with De La Salle University while FEU suffered its third loss in 11 games (8-3).
Point guard Juami Tiongson notched a career-high 20 points on top of two assists and a rebound while Kiefer Ravena added 18 point, nine boards and five assists for the Blue Eagles.
“It’s not about the lead, it’s the win. The players responded well. We are hoping to carry the momentum on Sunday [against La Salle]. The significance of this win is that we’re now in the Top Four,” said Ateneo head coach Bo Perasol.
Ateneo outrebounded FEU, 58-42. The Blue Eagles also had 21 assists compared to the Tamaraws’ 10.
Terrence Romeo led FEU with 19 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal while Ryan Roose Garcia chipped in 11 points, two rebounds and two assists.
“One game at a time. The winning mentality from the previous years is coming into play now. I can see that they can defend. They just need to play good defense, anchored on strong individual defense,” added Perasol.
It was a sweet revenge for the Blue Eagles as the Tamaraws beat them in the first round via 79-75 overtime decision.
Last year’s runner-up University of Santo Tomas (UST), on the other hand, defeated Adamson University, 80-67, to stay in contention. UST gained its fifth win in 10 outings (5-5) while Adamson fell to 3-8.
Meanwhile, UAAP commissioner Chito Loyzaga has slapped suspension on three players for unsportsmanlike infraction. They are Sierra Leone native Charles Mammie and Lord Casajeros of University of the East, and Thomas Torres of De La Salle University.
Mammie and Casajeros will be out for two games while Torres was given one-game suspension.