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Tolentino waxes hot; Ateneo topples UST for solo third

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The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles have been looking for a scorer outside of Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal.

That third guy has been riding on the bench the entire time as Arvin Tolentino scored a season-high, 20 points, in Ateneo’s upset win over the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 80-74, to sit in solo third place held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Wednesday night.

The teams had a tough time finding their groove offensively as the number of early turnovers piled up for the two schools. Ateneo led the entire first quarter behind Kiefer Ravena’s quick six points in his aggressive start. On the other side of the floor, the gold-and-white squad only had one field goal in the last four minutes of the opening frame while the Blue Eagles shot a good 9/10 from the foul stripe, good enough to give Ateneo a nine point separation.

Ateneo entered the penalty situation halfway through the second quarter that led to a lot of free throw attempts for UST. The Tigers scored 16 points during the period, 14 of which came from the foul stripe. In addition, the España-based crew only had its lone field goal during the 9:35 mark courtesy of Louie Vigil during the quarter. Meanwhile, Ateneo maintained its lead despite the slowed pace to the game as Von Pessumal knocked down a triple to beat the first half buzzer and give his squad a 41-28 lead at the break.

After struggling with their shooting, the Espana cagers turned it around with another one of those third quarter runs they are capable of. Ateneo erected their biggest lead of the match at 49-32 with 7:42 left capped by another triple by Pessumal. However, the Tigers unleashed 5 triples during the quarter that sliced a 17 point deficit down to three at 53-50. In four minutes, Marvin Lee, Ed Daquioag and Kent Lao woke up the UST crowd with their rampage but Ateneo managed to hang on with a 7-2 close out to the period. Jumpers by Arvin Tolentino and Von Pessumal gave Ateneo a 60-52 lead before the final period of play.

The Katipunan-based crew continued its run with Aaron Black and Arvin Tolentino making perimeter baskets to push their lead back to a baker’s dozen within two minutes. Tolentino then caught fire as he scored 13 points in the final frame, 9 of which came from downtown. UST made its last run in the last four minutes in regulation behind the transition game of Ed Daquioag taking place. However, another jumper by Tolentino followed by a Kiefer Ravena layup in the 1:28 mark restored a double-digit cushion, good enough to seal the deal for Ateneo.

“It’s a big win for us,” Ateneo head coach Bo Perasol said after the game. “There was some traumatic moments in the game that was reminiscent of our first round encounter but the boys pulled it off.” Both Perasol and co-captain Von Pessumal gave credit to the Ateneo bench who outscored their UST counterparts 43-26. “I would like to give a shoutout to the bench,” Pessumal remarked. Perasol added that “The keys was the bench especially Arvin Tolentino. He was confident in making he shots,” Perasol added.

For Tolentino, who topscored with 20 points on an excellent 70% shooting clip that included three triples, he did not think of the offense prior to the game. “Coming into this game, nasa isip ko lang defense. Masaya lang ako na naka shoot ako,” the player of the game said.

To close, the Ateneo players present said that the team is dedicating the game to John Apacible. “Hindi sa kanyang katarantaduhan,” Perasol quipped. “Para sa ikabubuti niya yung laro na ito.”

Other than Tolentino, the co-captains of the Blue Eagles also scored in double digits. Pessumal had 16 markers, nine coming from downtown. Ravena added 11 points, seven boards, and five dimes.

For the Growling Tigers, Ed Daquioag topscored for the now-second placers with 19 points. He was 7/17 from the field. He was also able to fill-up the statsheet with nine boards, three dimes, and two steals. Kevin Ferrer was limited to just 13 points, ten coming from the charity stripe, as he shot just 1/11 from the field.

Ateneo improves to a 6-4 record while UST slips to an 8-2 slate. The Blue Eagles will next face the NU Bulldogs on Sunday, 4pm at the Mall of Asia Arena. Meanwhile, UST looks to bounce back and get back on the winning track against the UP Fighting Maroons on the same game date.

As a team, the Blue Eagles shot an excellent 45% from the field compared to just 34% for UST.

The Scores:
ADMU (80) – Tolentino A. 20, Pessumal 16, Ravena 11, Black 9, Wong 6, Babilonia 5, Capacio 5, Gotladera 3, Ikeh 2, Nieto Ma. 2, Go 1, Cani 0.
UST (74) – Daquioag 19, Lee 15, Ferrer 13, Abdul 12, Lao 7, Sheriff 4, Vigil 4, Bonleon 0, Faundo 0, Garrido 0, Subido 0.
Quarterscores: 21-12, 41-28, 60-52, 80-74.

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