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UAAP: Eagles rip Warriors

By Jerome Lagunzad

Games Wednesday (Smart-Araneta Coliseum)
2 p.m. – FEU vs NU
4 p.m. – Ateneo vs UST

Powerhouse Ateneo made life miserable anew for University of the East, 83-65, yesterday to remain unbeaten in the UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Thirdy Ravena sustained his brilliance with 22 points, highlighted by a triple from 28 feet during their strong closeout that enabled the Blue Eagles to turn what was shaping up a tight finish into a cruise.

Ateneo’s Vince Tolentino (right) drives to the basket agianst University of the East’s Shan Gagate during UAAP action at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay. (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Ateneo’s Vince Tolentino (right) drives to the basket agianst University of the East’s Shan Gagate during UAAP action at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay. (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Matt Nieto backstopped Ravena with 11 points, eight of them coming in the third canto, while four other teammates added at least eight points each as Ateneo streaked to its fourth straight victory in as many matches and kept its hold of the top spot.

In the other match, Adamson defeated National University 83-76.

Cameroon import Papi Sarr had 19 points and 13 rebounds while teaming up with fellow Falcons Jerrick Ahanmisi and Jerie Pingoy to hold off the Bulldogs’ late fightback.

UE, meanwhile, suffered its fourth consecutive loss and dropped into a tie with another struggling squad, University of Santo Tomas, at the cellar.

“We played well in the fourth, and we played efficient offense in the fourth,” admitted Ateneo coach Sandy Arespacochaga, pleased with how Ravena and Co. got it done behind a 19-6 run in a six-minute stretch in the payoff period.

As convincing as the final scores may look, Arespacochaga admitted the Blue Eagles had some trouble shaking off the Red Warriors.

“UE is a tough team. I guess for a minute there, we fell into the trap of thinking that they’re a 0-3 team, in the third quarter especially,” he said.

“In the third we had the lead, but we couldn’t really say we had control of the game because they were keeping the score within distance.

With this league, you can’t take any team for granted. It’s a good thing our players responded.”

Playing with urgency after the break, the Red Warriors came charging back behind rookie Mark Maloles who scored six of their first 10 points in the third canto and pulled them within 33-36.

The Blue Eagles, however, came up with yet another big run behind Matt Nieto and fellow veteran Vince Tolentino, scoring 16 of the next 18 points to build a 52-37 edge.

The scores:
Ateneo 83 – Ravena 21, Nieto Ma. 11, Black 10, Nieto Mi. 10, Tolentino 9, Asistio 8, Verano 4, Porter 3, Ikeh 2, Go 2, Mendoza 2, Tio 1, White 0, Mallillin 0, Mamuyac 0, Andrade 0.

UE 65 – Pasaol 22, Abanto 10, Maloles 9, Derige 6, Acuno 5, Bartolome 4, Olayon 4, Conner 3, Varilla 2, Manalang 0, Cullar 0, Armenion 0, Gagate 0.

Quarters: 18-11, 32-23, 60-52, 83-65.

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