Erstwhile varsity powerhouses University of the East and Ateneo de Manila on Saturday outlasted their rivals to barge into the win column of Season 78 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City (Metro Manila).
The Red Warriors whipped defending champion National University Bulldogs 76-71 after recovering from an upset in the hands of hosts, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons in the season opener last week.
Edison Battaler scored 23 points including four three-pointers, while Edgar Charcos had 12 points and Paul Varilla contributed 11 for the Red Warriors.
Gelo Alolino made 23 points for the Bulldogs, whose win-loss record fell to 0-2 to join also the Adamson Falcons at the cellar of the team standings with no wins in two games.
In the first game, the Ateneo Blue Eagles regained their competitive form to rout the Falcons 84-60 for their first win.
After suffering a stinging 64-88 loss to the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in last week’s opener, the Blue Eagles came out big in the second half to transform a 34-30 halftime lead to 80-54 advantage before cruising to victory.
Ateneo outscored Adamson in the third quarter 28-18 and fourth quarter 22-12
Reigning Most Valuable Player Kiefer Ravena finished with 24 points, three assists and three steals while Von Pessumal added 12 points. Matthew Nieto and Jerrie Pingoy had nine and eight points, respectively, also for Ateneo.
Aaron Black, who had 11 points, inflicted most of his damage against the Falcons in the third period as he hit two three pointers to give the Blue Eagles a 62-48 lead. From thereon, Ateneo didn’t look back.
“The way we played in the second half is the way we have envisioned in this season. First it was a good way for us, not for anything else but for our confidence,” said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol.
“Whatever confidence we had, after the first game, it was shattered against FEU.”
“Very proud of Aaron here. For a rookie not to play in his first game and then play like this is a good confidence builder. He played his heart out and he gave us a good start that ignited the second half run,” said Ravena.
Pape Sarr led the Falcons with 13 points and 14 rebounds.