(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
2 p.m. – UE vs UP
4 p.m. – NU vs Adamson
The Ateneo Blue Eagles suffered a dip in form yesterday but that didn’t prevent them from keeping intact their amazing second round showing.
Struggling for most of the way, the Blue Eagles found a way to ward off the stubborn University of Santo Tomas to post a 74-64 victory to hike their streak to gain a momentary hold of solo second in the UAAP basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Three-pointers by Raffy Verano, Mike Nieto and Anton Asistio allowed Ateneo to preserve its lead in the fourth and eventually clinch its fifth straight victory that boosted the chances of claiming the second twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
Ateneo improved to 9-4 and could stay in second by the end of the night, depending on the result of the La Salle-Far Eastern University match being played at presstime. FEU entered the game at 8-4 after losing back-to-back games to Adamson and Ateneo.
Isaac Go, who has been impressive particularly on the defensive end, made big productions on offense, emerging as the topscorer with 15 points for Ateneo, which hasn’t lost since falling to University of the Philippines in the second round opener.
Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin, however, had reservations with his team’s performance, saying that it was far from the Blue Eagle squad that stunned the archrival La Salle Green Archers and the Tamaraws in a span of five days.
“A little bit disappointed,” said Baldwin. “Obviously happy with the victory, happy that we kept our second round (performance) looking good. But it wasn’t really an efficient game for us.
“We wanna have our game probably more characterized by better defense, but you got to give UST credit, it was their last game of the season and they want to put up a good fight and they did.
“I think expectations have began to escalate a little bit, probably very unfair for our players but that’s life,” he added. “It is up to us to live up to those expectations and we have to live up to our own expectations and today we probably fell short in terms of our overall performance and our individual performance.”
Baldwin and the rest of the Blue Eagles can gain an inside track on the semis incentive with a win against the Falcons on Wednesday at the same venue.
Before facing Ateneo, Adamson battles National University today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum while FEU needs to beat University of the East on Wednesday regardless of last night’s outcome against La Salle.
Louie Vigil finished with 14 points in his final collegiate game as UST ended the season with a 3-11 record, the school’s worst record since the Final Four era began in 1993.
UST struggled throughout the campaign under coach Boy Sablan, a season after losing to FEU in the finals and losing Kevin Ferrer and Ed Daquioag to graduation.
ATENEO 74 – Go 15, Nieto Mi. 13, Tolentino 11, Asistio 6, Wong 5, Ikeh 5, Black 5, Verano 5, Mendoza 4, Ravena 3, Nieto Ma. 2, Ildefonso 0, Porter 0.
UST 64 – Vigil 14, Lee 9, Sheriff 9, Faundo 8, Macasaet 8, De Guzman 8, Subido 3, Lao 3, Afoakwah 2, Huang 0, Caunan 0, Basibas 0, Araña 0.
Quarters: 16-15; 38-36; 58-53; 74-64.