Ateneo De Manila University displayed great tenacity and bearing when it needed most in the second half to score a 73-62 win over De La Salle University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Skipper Kiefer Ravena scattered 11 of his 15 points in the second half to go along with five rebounds and three assists, while guard Von Pessumal finished with 11 of his 17 points in the last two quarters to hand the Blue Eagles a 9-4 win-loss record and stay at No. 3 spot.
“It was a good win emotionally for us,” said Ateneo mentor Bo Perasol during the post game interview. “We really need this win and we’re happy we got it. What’s important right now is we’re giving ourselves a chance to catch up with the league leaders.”
The Blue Eagles outscored the Green Archers in the third quarter 23-9 to transform a 30-35 halftime deficit to 53-43 Ateneo lead heading to the fourth period.
Ateneo out rebounded La Salle 48-34 despite making only two three-point baskets in the whole game.
Forward Paolo Rivero led La Salle with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Jeron Teng had 11 points. The Green Archers fell to 5-7 win-loss record.
In the first game, reigning champion National University (NU) kept its title-retention drive alive by toppling a hapless University of the Philippines (UP) squad 75-69 behind the impressive performance of all-around shooting guard Gelo Alolino.
Alolino racked up a career-high 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting in the field and collected 10 rebounds plus three assists while towering 6’8” Alfred Aroga piled up 15 points and hauled down 17 rebounds to guide the Bulldogs to a 6-7 win-loss record that kept its Final Four hopes alive.
“I was very happy with how we played today,” NU mentor Eric Altamirano told reporters during the post game interview. “Imagine Gelo (Alolino) is our point guard but he is also the one who produces points for us. It was our defense that helped us. UP also fought hard in this game.”
“Our character was really tested today but good thing they stepped up in the second half.”
Alolino had 12 points alone in the fourth quarter.
UP’s seven straight points in the dying seconds, however, were not enough to save them.
The Fighting Maroons are now already out of contention in the Final Four after suffering their ninth defeat in 12 games for a 3-9 win-loss record.
Jett Manuel and Diego Dario posted 13 points apiece for UP.