Defending champion Ateneo De Manila University relied on a strong start to outlast University of Santo Tomas (UST), 61-57, on Saturday in UAAP men’s basketball at the Araneta Coliseum.
“It’s really tough playing against UST but I know if we can get our act together every game, there is a chance to win just like today,” said Ateneo mentor Bo Perasol, who got 13 points from Kiefer Ravena and 10 Chris Newsome.
Ateneo raced to an early 21-6 lead early in the second quarter after Manuel Tolentino’s basket. But UST, led by Aljon Mariano’s 12 points in first half, outscored the Blue Eagles in second quarter, 15-8, to narrow the gap to 21-27 at halftime.
After trailing 39-47 at the end of third period, the Growling Tigers threatened when Clark Bautista drained a contested triple at the baseline to come within 57-59 with only 21 seconds remaining in the game.
But UST failed to connect in the next crucial plays.
Newsome and Ravena made a free throw each in the dying seconds after being fouled to give the Blue Eagles a 3-4 slate. The Growling Tigers suffered their third loss in seven games for 4-3.
In an off-court development Adamson University’s petition to have a replay of its first round game against De La Salle University was denied by the UAAP Technical Committee.
The committee however, extended referee Francisco Olivar’s suspension from three to six days.