In a battle of two teams already familiar with one another, it was the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles who were able to find another gear to knock off the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 50-38, Friday evening at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The win kept Ateneo unbeaten in the 2018 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup, presented by Chooks-to-Go. Moreover, they advance to the Finals of this summer tournament for the first time since 2011.
And they had to scratch and claw their way to reach this point.
“It was a defensive game, low scoring,” admitted assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga, as they were able to limit FEU to an all-time Preseason Cup low of 38 points.
“FEU played good defense on us in the first half and we talked about playing in the system. Even though we were missing some shots, there was a tendency to go one-on-one. We only two assists at half. Medyo may gigil eh. We wanted to win but we were doing individually,” added the Ateneo lifer.
With the game knotted at 31-all, Isaac Go was able to find enough space against FEU’s stingy defense as he knocked down a triple, and followed it up with a putback to give Ateneo a five-point edge with 6:01 left.
“As coach said it’s a team effort. Everybody stepped up and ddid their job. We responded the coach’s message at halftime,” shared Go, who had five points and three rebounds in the game.
Ateneo would lead by as much as eight points, 44-36, after an Anton Asistio jumper. Moreover, Ateneo were able to shackle FEU in the last 10 minutes, limiting the Tamaraws to just eight fourth-quarter points.
Thirdy Ravena led Ateneo with seven points and five rebounds, while Angelo Kouame hauled down 15 rebounds.
Prince Orizu was the sole Tamaraw who scored in double-figures, with 11 points to go along with 13 rebounds.
Ateneo will face either San Beda or Saint Benilde in the finals.
ADMU 50 — Ravena 7, Asistio 6, Kouame 6, Verano 6, Go 5, Navarro 5, Ma. Nieto 5, Mi. Nieto 4, Belangel 3, Maagdenberg 3, Black 0, Mamuyac 0, Mendoza 0, Tio 0, Wong 0, White 0.
FEU 38 — Orizu 11, Cani 8, Tuffin 7, Escoto 4, Iñigo 4, Tolentino 3, Stockton 1, Bienes 0, Comboy 0, Eboña 0, Gonzales 0, Parker 0, Ramirez 0.
Quarterscores: 9-16, 21-22, 30-30, 50-38.