Posted Feb 16th 2014
Ateneo KOs UE to move closer to Final Four
By Josiah Albelda Posted Sep 8th 2013
One more day.
Ateneo de Manila University survived yet another big test and eliminated University of the East with a 77-72 win in the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Playing without suspended head coach Bo Perasol, the Blue Eagles struggled to hum early, but recovered just in time to send the Red Warriors crashing out of the Final Four contention while also living one more day.
Junior guard Kiefer Ravena starred for Ateneo, firing a season-high 22 points as the Eagles nailed their seventh win in 12 outings to tie idle University of Santo Tomas for fourth spot.
“We had to step up for coach Bo,” said assistant coach Sandy Arrespacochaga. “We are on team. When one’s down, pick each other up.”
And that is exactly what the six-peat-seeking squad did -- teaming up to erase a 12-point deficit early in the third period to turn UE back.
Roi Sumang put the Warriors up, 46-34, with 9:09 left in the third quarter, before Ateneo sizzled in an 18-3 run to build a 52-49 advantage with less than four minutes in the period.
Ravena had six points in that blitz, with Juami Tiongson and Chris Newsome adding four markers apiece as the Eagles treaded dangerous waters before recovering.
“We gave up too many points in the first half,” said Arrespacochaga. “We talked about playing better defense, especially on Roi Sumang.”
Sumang torched Ateneo with 20 points in the first two quarters, but was scoreless in the final period as the Eagles’ defense clamped down on him.
“In the second half, we were able to follow the game plan defensively,” added Arrespacochaga, whose wards limited UE to 22.2% shooting from beyond the arc.
Nevertheless, the long-time assistant coach believes that the job isn’t done yet for Ateneo.
“We still have UST and NU,” he said. “I think very important yung last 2 games for us. We are focusing on just one game at a time.”
Newsome added 19 points and eight rebounds while five other Eagles scored at least five markers as the team made 52.3% of their shots from two-point range.
Charles Mammie posted 11 points and 17 rebounds for the Warriors even as Gino Jumao-as and Dan Alberto added 10 apiece.
Ateneo (77) – Ravena 22, Newsome 19, Buenafe 9, Elorde 7, Tiongson 6, Pessumal 5, Erram 5, Golla 4, Tolentino 0, Enriquez 0
UE (72) – Sumang 27, Mammie 11, Jumao-as 10, Alberto 10, Noble 5, Santos 4, Sumido 2, Hernandez 2, Javier 1, Olayon 0, Pujante 0, Flores 0, Casajeros 0
Quarters: 14-16, 34-44, 56-55, 77-72