DEFENDING champion Ateneo De Manila University relied on a strong start to outlast University of Santo Tomas (UST), 61-57, on Saturday in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 76 men’s basketball at the Araneta Coliseum.
“It’s really tough playing against UST but I know if we can get our acts together every game, there is a chance to win just like today,” said Ateneo mentor Bo Perasol.
Skipper Kiefer Ravena topscored for Ateneo with 13 points on top of eight rebounds while Filipino-American Chris Newsome added 10 markers and nine boards.
Ateneo raced to an early 21-6 lead in the second period on Manuel Tolentino’s basket. After trailing by eight, 39-47, at the end of third period, the Growling Tigers threatened the Blue Eagles when Clark Bautista drained a booming triple at the baseline to close the gape, 57-59, with only 21 seconds remaining in the game.
But UST failed to connect in the next crucial plays as Newsome and Ravena sank crucial free throws down the stretch en route to the victory.
The Blue Eagles improved to 3-4 win-loss slate while he Growling Tigers suffered their third loss in seven games (4-3).
Earlier, University of the East (UE) survived University of the Philippines (UP), 62-57, behind the stellar play of hulking Sierra Leone native Charles Mammie and prolific point guard Roi Sumang.
Mammie dominated the shaded lane with 22 rebounds – 12 in the offensive end – and scored 17 points, while Sumang chipped in 10 points along with nine rebounds and five assists for the Red Warriors.
UE also drew eight points each from Adrian Santos and Lord Casajeros.
“It’s a great performance and I’m really happy to contribute to my team,” said Mammie, who was one rebound away from matching his season high in rebounding. “UP played tough and they really wanted to beat us but we responded well to their challenges,” he added.
UE now has 4-3 win-loss record while UP is still winless in seven games.
Meanwhile, the UAAP management committee rejected the Adamson University’s appeal for a replay against De La Salle University. The league, however, extended the sanction to referee Francisco Olivar, who called the controversial unsportsmalike foul on Wednesday, from three to six games.