Ateneo de Manila University survived University of the East (UE), 78-73, to grab the solo lead in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 77 men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Blue Eagles improved to 7-2, leaving erstwhile co-leaders defending champion De La Salle University and Far Eastern University in a share of the No. 2 spot with identical 6-2. The Red Warriors absorbed their fifth loss for a 4-5 slate at sixth place.
Chris Newsome topscored for Ateneo with 23 on top of six rebounds, two assists and two steals while Kiefer Ravena delivered 16 including a crucial three-pointer down the stretch. Von Pessumal and Nico Elorde combined for 24 points.
In the first game, National University (NU) routed Adamson University, 71-50, to secure its sixth win in nine outings.
Gelo Alolino had 14 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Bulldogs while Glenn Khobuntin contributed 12 markers and six boards. Alfred Aroga added seven points and 12 rebounds.
The Bulldogs remain at fourth with a 6-3 card while the Falcons are still winless in nine games.
“We were able to assert ourselves in rebounding but we can’t afford to play like this against Ateneo,” stressed NU head coach Eric Altamirano referring to their next game against the Blue Eagles on Sunday.
NU dominated the shaded area with 65 rebounds against Adamson’s 32. It was the biggest rebounding margin in the league since 2007.
Don Trollano led Adamson with 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals, and Jansen Rios chipped in 12 points and eight boards.
Adamson scored a measly two-point showing in the second quarter, matching the league’s lowest output in a quarter of Ateneo in 2003 when the Blue Eagles lost to the Bulldogs, 72-76.