Eagles get back at Bulldogs

NU Bulldog Alfred Aroga goes to the basket against Blue Eagle Gideon Babilonia in their game yesterday at the Araneta Coliseum.

Games on Saturday (MOA Arena)

2 p.m. - AdMU vs UE

4 p.m. - NU vs UST


MANILA, Philippines - Ateneo finally broke out of the stranglehold of defending champion National U, carving out a hard-earned 74-70 double overtime victory last night in the UAAP Season 78 men's basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Kiefer Ravena brought the Blue Eagles back with clutch baskets in the dying seconds of both regulation and first extension then Nigerian rookie Chibueze Ikeh took over in the second extra period as the Eagles beat the Bulldogs for the first time since 2012.

"What can I say? It was a grind," said AdMU coach Bo Perasol after finally snapping the school's six-game slump versus NU.

Ateneo hiked its record to 2-1 and grabbed a share of second with idle Far Eastern U,  University of the Philippines, and University of the East, which stormed past Adamson in the first game, 89-78.

NU suffered its third straight setback - the worst start under coach Eric Altamirano.

Hounded all game long by Pau Javelona, Ravena found space to nail a huge trey to force the first overtime at 57. He sustained his form in the first OT, scoring off a drive with 5.7 seconds left to bring AdMU level at 62.

Ikeh shot 14 points, including six in the second overtime, along with 17 rebounds, 14 of them off the offensive glass, as he spelled the difference inside with NU's Alfred Aroga fouling out late in the fourth.

"I don't think we could have won it without the heroics of Kiefer twice and of course, last game's much-maligned player Ikeh, who stepped up and proved he really belongs to our team. He worked hard in aspects of the game we really needed - rebounding, being a presence in the middle, getting those critical shots," said Perasol.

AdMU registered its first win over NU since a 70-55 victory last Sept. 13, 2012.

"At the end of the day, I just can sense in my players that they really wanted to win this one, especially Von (Pessumal) and Kiefer, the graduating players, they know it's been a while since we've last beaten NU and what a way to win this one," said Perasol.

Ravena finished with 21 points. Jerie Pingoy and Von Pessumal added nine and eight markers, respectively.

Gelo Alolino paced NU with 19 as Aroga managed 14.

Bonbon Batiller, a transferee from Holy Trinity of General Santos City, fired 23 points, issued eight assists and made six steals as the Warriors followed up their 76-71 upset of NU and improved to 2-1.

Veteran Paul Varilla shot 14 plus six boards and three feeds while Clark Derige chipped in 12 markers and 10 caroms for UE, which squandered a nine-point cushion in the second quarter but regained control with a 22-5 assault bridging the third and fourth quarters.

"We had to dig deep for this win; we knew it's not going to be easy playing Adamson. We had to keep working hard," said UE coach Derrick Pumaren.

"Actually I got mad at them. We were up by nine then gave up easy baskets before the second quarter ended. The game plan was to make sure Adamson worked for every point, that we didn't give them easy baskets. And so we worked on that in the second half," he said.

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