Ateneo de Manila University relied on balance scoring and rock-solid defense to blast winless University of the Philippines (UP), 72-64, to notch its second win against four losses in UAAP men’s basketball Sunday.
The defending champions are in seventh spot in the team standings, a game ahead of UP.
Guard Kiefer Ravena piled up 15 points along with three assists and two rebounds, while rookie guard Chris Newsome and Ryan Buenafe contributed 13 points each for the Blue Eagles, who are now 16-1 against the Fighting Maroons since 2005.
After taking a slim 19-17 edge at the end of first quarter, Ateneo got going in the second as guard Juami Tiongson and Buenafe found their range and point guard Nico Elorde scored a buzzer-beating trey that stretched the lead to 38-30 at halftime.
Tiongson and Buenafe combined for 19 points in first half.
Ateneo also ended the first two periods with six triples against only two of UP.
Newsome gave the Blue Eagles a 51-36 cushion after draining a triple midway third quarter before they closed out the third period ahead at 57-40. Ateneo extended its lead to 63-46 with only seven minutes left in the payoff frame.
The Fighting Maroons trimmed the deficit to 62-70 with two minutes left on Joseph Marata’s triple. But Ateneo answered with an alley-oop dunk from Newsome to stay out of reach, 72-62, with only few seconds remaining.
Marata had a career-high 22 points on 9-of-24 shooting in the field and hauled three rebounds. Chris Ball added 10 points and 10 rebounds for UP, who dropped their fifth straight game to start the season with a 0-5 win-loss slate.