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Ateneo survives UST’s strong challenge to keep streak intact



Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Ateneo survives UST's strong challenge to keep streak intact ADMU Basketball News UAAP UST  UST Men's Basketball UAAP Season 80 Men's Basketball UAAP Season 80 Thirdy Ravena Tab Baldwin Matt Nieto Marvin Lee Jordan Sta. Ana Isaac Go Boy Sablan Ateneo Men's Basketball

The biggest challenge of the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles so far this season came from the unlikeliest of opponents.

The league-leading Blue Eagles needed to gut it out with the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, taking a 94-84 victory to go to 5-0, Wednesday evening at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

“We’re happy that we won the game, at the same time we’re not happy with our performance,” lamented Ateneo coach Sandy Arespacochaga. “Nothing… I’m not taking anything away from UST, they played a good game. If you look at UST’s games, they’ve been staying close, the end game is what they need to improve on.”

Behind Matt Nieto’s stellar third quarter, the Blue Eagles were up by as much as 22 points, 69-47, after a Nieto three with seven minutes remaining in the quarter.

However, facing a huge deficit, the Growling Tigers turned up their physicality, surprising the Blue Eagles.

“If you take away the turnovers, they’re a very high volume team, they have good playmakers,” said Arespacochaga.

Marvin Lee and Jordan Sta. Ana willed UST forward, spearheading a 17-2 run to close out the third frame to cut the lead down to just five, 76-71.

A Lee triple with 6:24 left made UST faithful believe, cutting the once-imposing deficit into just one, 80-81, with 6:24 remaining. But the Blue Eagles were able to recover, scrapping it out with their opponents that led to a 6-0 run with Anton Asistio, Vince Tolentino, and Thirdy Ravena scoring in that order.

The end game woes of UST reared their ugly heads in the final three minutes, as they missed five of their last 10 free throws. An out-of-body, turnaround jumper by Matt Nieto with 32.4 ticks left sealed Ateneo’s fifth win.

“We had a couple of breaks here and there. But overall, we weren’t happy with the game, we weren’t happy with how we went up and down in energy, we weren’t happy with the consistency of the calls, even UST also, both teams are puzzled,” admitted Arespacochaga.

Nieto notched his career-high in this contest, scoring 22 points on an efficient 7-for-12 shooting. Ravena filled up the stat sheet as well with 12 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, a steal, and a block, while Isaac Go chipped in 13 markers off the bench.

Though their stand was gallant, it could not mask the fact that UST’s 0-5 record is their worst start to a season in a decade.

Lee and Sta. Ana finished with 22 and 21 points respectively. However, outside of the two Growling Tigers, the rest of the team shot just 15-for-41 from the field.

Ateneo will next face the National University Bulldogs on Saturday, September 30 at 4:00pm. UST, on the other hand, look to end their skid on the same day, hoping to upset the De La Salle University Green Archers at 2:00pm.

The Scores:

ADMU 94 – Nieto Ma 22, Go 13, Ravena 12, Mamuyac 8, Ikeh 7, Asistio 7, Nieto Mi 6, Tolentino 5, Verano 4, Tio 3, Mallillin 3, Black 2, Mendoza 2, Porter 0

UST 84 – Lee 22, Sta. Ana 21, Faundo 6, Escalambre 6, Akomo 6, Romero 6, Garcia 4, Huang 4, Basibas 4, Soriano 3, De Guzman 2, Kwawukumey 0, Arana 0

Quarterscores: 29-23, 55-43, 76-71, 94-84